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Ex  Libris 
C.  K.  OGDEN 






«&  Ljl 



Benjamin  Scott,  Esq.,  F.R.A.S., 

Chamberlain  of  the  City  of  London;  First  Chairman  of  the  Surrey 

Congregational  Union. 








T.   G.    CRIPPEN 




JAMES   CLARKE   &   CO.,  13  &  14   FLEET   STREET 





Nearly  fifty  years  ago  the  Rev.  John  Waddington 
was  asked  by  the  newly-formed  Surrey  Congregational 
Union  to  prepare  a  history  of  its  churches.  Much 
history  is  made  in  half  a  century,  especially  in  London 
and  its  vicinity,  and  for  a  long  while  it  has  been  felt 
by  the  Union  that  the  time  had  come  to  write  anew  the 
fascinating  story.  Three  years  ago  the  Executive 
entrusted  the  task  into  my  hands.  That  task  I  have 
endeavoured  to  perform  to  the  best  of  my  ability.  It 
has  not  been  an  easy  work,  but  it  has  been  a  labour  of 


Waddington  in  his  preface  refers  to  the  great  difficulty 
of  obtaining  full  and  authentic  local  information 
respecting  our  churches.  I,  too,  have  often  found  that 
only  the  baldest  facts  were  accessible.  But  a  greater 
difficulty  still  has  been  the  task  of  selecting  and  con- 
densing within  some  four  hundred  and  fifty  pages 
material  enough  to  fill  half  a  dozen  similar  volumes. 
The  tale  of  such  a  church  as  the  Pilgrim  Fathers' 
requires  a  volume  to  itself,  and  the  same  is  true  of  such 
churches  as  Kingston,  Guildford,  Dorking,  Mortlake 
and  many  others. 

One  thing  especially  has  been  a  matter  of  regret— that 
the  limitations  of  space  have  made  it  impossible  to  give 


fuller  reference  to  the  laymen  of  our  county.  One 
cannot  read  the  records  of  our  churches  without  feeling 
intense  admiration  for  the  men  who  have  in  every 
generation  done  such  noble  work  for  Christ,  none  the 
less  effective  because  it  was  quiet  and  unpretending. 
Though  not  called  ministers,  they  have  been  ministers 
indeed.  Again  and  again  some  family  has  been  in 
the  holy  succession  for  several  generations,  and  b}' 
staunch  fidelity  to  conviction,  and  by  devoted  service, 
has  made  a  church  under  the  blessing  of  God  a 
power  in  its  neighbourhood.  And  that  leads  me  to 
express  the  hope  that  one  result  of  these  and  similar 
county  histories  may  be  to  induce  churches  that  have 
not  already  done  so  to  search  out  and  publish  fuller 
records  than  can  be  attempted  here. 

Unfortunately  when  this  book  was  almost  finished 
a  complete  breakdown  in  health  laid  the  work  aside. 
After  more  than  a  year  it  was  taken  up  again  to  find 
that  considerable  condensation  was  necessary.  In  this 
I  was  assisted  by  the  kind  services  of  Rev.  J.  Alden 
Davies,  of  South  Croydon,  and  Rev.  J.  H.  Milnes, 
M.A.,  of  Woking.  Even  then  further  condensation 
and  revision  was  required,  and  in  this  the  assistance 
was  obtained  of  Rev.  T.  G.  Crippen,  of  the  Memorial 
Hall  Library,  who  also  kindly  undertook  to  write  the 
few  remaining  accounts  (Hanover,  Surrey  Chapel,  and 
some  extinct  churches),  and  see  the  work  through  the 
press.  Mr.  Crippen  has  also  prepared  the  valuable  map 
and  appendices  that  accompany  this  volume. 

Acknowledgments  are  due  to  Principal  E.  Griffith- 


Jones  for  the  account  of  Balham  Church,  and  to  Rev. 
Bernard  Snell  for  that  of  Brixton,  to  Rev.  W.  Mottram 
for  the  sketch  of  Rev.  Geo.  Murphy,  and  to  Mr.  W. 
Chennell  for  the  account  of  the  Guildford  stations. 

The  illustrations  of  well-known  ministers  and  laymen 
have  been  prepared  from  photos  and  engravings  that 
appeared  in  the  Year  Books  and  Evangelical  Magazine. 
It  was  thought  best  not  to  include  the  portraits  of  any 
living  ministers,  but  an  exception  has  been  made  in  the 
case  of  that  honoured  veteran  of  Congregationalism, 
Dr.  Guinness  Rogers.  The  engravings  of  buildings  are 
from  blocks  that  have  been  kindly  supplied  by  the 
churches  whose  names  they  bear,  and  in  some  instances 
by  the  Congregational  Union  of  England  and  Wales, 
and  from  the  British  Congregationalism  For  the  block 
of  Mr.  Rae  we  are  indebted  to  the  Surrey  Times. 

The  arrangement  of  the  churches  in  this  volume  has 
been  adopted  after  much  consideration.  It  was  felt 
that  neither  a  purely  alphabetical  nor  a  chronological 
sequence  was  desirable.  The  county  union  divisions 
have  therefore  been  taken,  and  within  these  areas  the 
churches  generally  follow  one  another  in  the  order  in 
which  they  were  founded.  Mission  stations  follow  the 
churches  to  which  they  belong. 

No  one  can  write  a  book  of  this  kind  without  being 
conscious  of  its  deficiencies,  but  the  greatest  care  has 
been  taken  to  ensure  accuracy.  A  list  of  authorities 
consulted  appears  upon  another  page.  In  addition  to 
these  I  have  in  many  cases  been  able  to  examine  the 
church  books  and  other  documents.    In  most  instances 



the  MS.  has  been  sent  to  someone  best  acquainted  with 
the  church's  history  for  correction  and  remarks.  In 
cases  of  conflicting  accounts — and  these  are  by  no 
means  rare — the  best  advice  has  been  taken. 

In  conclusion  I  desire  to  thank  the  many  ministers 
and  deacons  who  have  so  freely  rendered  valuable  help, 
and  to  express  a  hope  that  the  publication  of  this 
volume  may  lead  to  a  deeper  interest  in  the  work  of 
our  churches,  and  the  Union  that  binds  them  together. 


2,  Vernon  Road, 

East  Sheen,  S.W., 
March,  1908. 




Allbutt. — "  History  of  Stockvvell  Church." 

Allon.— "  Life  of  Sherman." 

Anderson.—"  History   of  Independent    Dissenters  at 

Bax  — "  Plundered  Ministers  of  Surrey." 
Besse.— "  Sufferings  of  the  Quakers." 
Bogue  and  Bennett.—"  History  of  Dissenters." 
Boyne. — "  Token  Coinages." 
Brayley. — "  History  of  Surrey." 
Bright.—"  History  of  Dorking." 
Brook. — "  Lives  of  the  Puritans." 
Caine,  W.  S.,  M.P.,  Biography  of. 
Calamy.— "  Nonconformists'     Memorial,"     edited    by 

S.  Palmer. 
Christian  World  newspaper,  file  of. 
Church  Magazines,  Manuals,  and  Year  Books,  various. 
Congregational  Historical  Society,  Transactions  of. 
Congregational  Year  Books,  Lists,  Biographies,  etc. 
Congregationalist,  The. 
Dale. — "  History  of  Congregationalism." 
Domestic  State  Papers  in  the  Public  Record  Office. 
Evangelical  Magazine. 
Farren. — "Jamaica  Barn." 

"  Ministry  of  Rev.  Thos.  Rosewell." 
Gentleman's  Magazine. 


Hall,   C.  Newman. — Autobiography. 

Hanbury. — "  Historical  Research  concerning  the  Most 
Ancient  Congregational  Church  in  England." 

Home  Missionary  Magazine. 

James. — "  History    of     Litigation     concerning     Pres- 
byterian Chapels  and  Charities." 

Jerrold. — "  Surrey." 

London  Chapel  Building  Society  Reports. 

London  Congregational  Union  Reports. 

London  Congregational  Directory. 

Manning. — "  History  of  Surrey." 

McCrie. — "  Annals  of  English  Presbyterianism." 

Monthly  Repository. 

Morden. — "  History  of  Tooting  Graveney." 

MSS.  (various)  in  Williams's  Library. 

Neal. — "  History  of  the  Puritans." 

Pike.—"  Dr.  Parker  and  his  Friends." 

Protestant  Dissenters'1  Magazine. 

Rogers,  J.  G. — Autobiography. 

Selden  Society  Papers. 

Shirley.—"  Life  of  Rowland  Hill." 

Simmonds.— "  All  about  Battersea." 

Surrey  Archaeological  Society's  Papers. 

Surrey  Congregational  Penny  Magazine. 

Surrey  Congregational  Union  Reports. 

Surrey  Mission  Reports. 

Waddington.— "  Surrey  Congregational  History." 

Williamson,     D.—  Articles     on     Guildford    Noncon- 
formity in  Local   Magazine. 

Wilson,  Joshua.—"  Life  of  Thomas  Wilson." 

>>  >>  Papers     in      the      Congregational 


Wilson,  Walter.—"  History  of  Dissenting  Churches." 


The  history  of  Surrey  Congregationalism  is  for 
the  most  part  told  in  the  following  records.  But  that 
history  would  not  be  entirely  complete  without  some 
account  of  that  organised  Congregationalism  that  is 
outside  any  church,  and  yet    holds    them   all    in   one 


Although  not  exclusively  a  Congregational  society, 
the  Surrey  Mission  has  been  so  closely  associated  with 
our  churches  that  it  merits  a  reference  in  these  pages. 

The    Surrey  Mission  was  formed  in   1797  by    Rev. 
James  Bowden,  of  Tooting.     Deeply  concerned  for  the 
deplorably  dark  state  of  the  county,  he  gathered  together 
a  number  of  ministers  and  Christian  friends  of  various 
denominations   with   the   object    of    propagating    the 
gospel  in  those  villages  of  the  county  where  it  was  not 
preached.     The  first  meeting  was  held  at  Tooting  in 
June,  1797,  when  a  committee  was  formed  and  prin- 
ciples and  plans  of  work  agreed  upon.     From  the  first 
it  was  resolved  that  the  work  should  be  purely  evan- 
gelistic   and    undenominational.     During    the   summer 
ministers  of  the  county  visited  the  villages,  and  in  the 
winter   the   agents  of  the  society   were    employed   in 
house  to  house  labours.     Eventually  chapels  came  to 
be  established  in  various  localities,  which  formed  the 
centre  of  operations  for  surrounding  villages.     Amongst 
towns  and  villages  worked  at  one  time  or  another  by  the 
mission  have  been  Epsom,  Milford,  Ash,  Pain's  Hill, 


Oxted,  Shere,  Gomshall,  Felday,  Haslemere,  Addle- 
stone,  Elstead,  Sutton,  Wormley,  Normandy,  Worp- 
lesdon,  and  many  others.  Some  of  these  missions 
have  developed  into  Congregational  or  Baptist  churches, 
others  are  carried  on  as  missions  by  neighbouring 

With  the  formation  of  the  Surrey  Union,  and  the 
growth  of  church  life  in  the  county,  the  special  work  of  the 
mission  became  less  needed,  until  to-day  out  of  a  slender 
endowment  it  only  makes  grants  +o  one  or  two  stations 
in  the  county.  But  its  record  is  a  noble  one.  It 
was  the  pioneer  of  evangelistic  work.  Its  agents  have 
been  amongst  the  most  devoted  men  the  county  has 
known,  and  Nonconformity  in  many  a  rural  district 
owes  not  only  its  strength,  but  its  very  existence,  to  the 
work  of  the  Surrey  Mission. 

After  the  Bicentenary  Commemoration  of  St.  Bar- 
tholomew's Day,  1662,  that  black  day  when  some  two 
thousand  godly  ministers  of  the  Episcopal  Church 
were  deprived  of  their  livings,  it  was  felt  that  it  would 
be  a  fitting  memorial  of  the  commemoration  to  form 
a  Congregational  Union  for  Surrey.  For  many  years 
the  Surrey  Mission  had  been  established,  and  had 
done  splendid  service  in  the  evangelisation  of  the 
villages ;  but  this,  as  we  have  seen,  was  an  unde- 
nominational effort,  and  confined  itself  necessarily  to 
evangelistic  work.  It  therefore  left  untouched  important 
branches  of  Christian  labour  which  in  other  counties 
were  undertaken  by  Congregational  associations. 

The  want  of  such  an  organisation  had  long  been  felt. 
The  isolation  of  many  of  the  Congregational  churches 
was  a  distinct  source  of  weakness,  and  Nonconformity 
had  made  less  progress  in  Surrey  than  any  other 
county  of  England.     It  must  be  remembered,  too,  that 


at  this  time  the  London  Union  did  not  exist,  so  that 
the  care  of  the  weaker  churches  was  a  problem  that 
called  for  immediate  consideration. 

Accordingly  a  conference  of  representatives  of  the 
churches  was  held  at  Kingston  in  October,  1862,  and 
again  at  York  Road,  Lambeth,  on  Tuesday,  March  24, 
1863,  when  it  was  agreed  that  a  Union  should  be 

The  first  meeting  of  the  Union  was  held  at  Wey- 
bridge  on  June  9,  1863,  at  the  house  of  Benjamin 
Scott,  Esq.,  Chamberlain  of  the  City  of  London. 
Eighty-two  delegates  attended,  representing  forty 
churches.  A  paper  was  read  by  Rev.  R.  \V.  Betts,  of 
Peckham,  on  "  The  Religious  Condition  of  the  Metro- 
politan District  of  the  County,"  and  Rev.  A.  E.  Lord, 
of  Hersham,  dealt  with  the  conditions  of  rural  Surrey. 
The  work  that  the  Union  might  attempt  was  outlined 
by  Rev.  A.  Mackennal,  of  Surbiton.  Mr.  Benjamin 
Scott  was  elected  the  first  President,  and  Mr.  J.  W. 
Buckley,  of  Croydon,  the  first  Treasurer.  Revs.  R.  \Y. 
Betts  and  A.  Mackennal,  of  Surbiton,  were  appointed 

For  forty-five  years  the  Union  has  pursued  its  way, 
endeavouring  to  carry  out  the  work  it  assigned  to 
itself  "to  promote  the  union  and  efficiency  of  the 
churches,  and  the  spread  of  evangelical  religion  ;  to 
advance  the  principles  of  Nonconformity ;  and  to 
uphold  and  enlarge  civil  and  religious  freedom." 

One  important  part  of  its  work  has  been  to  aid  the 
weaker  churches  of  the  county  with  grants  of  money. 
In  this  way  new  churches  have  been  founded,  young 
causes  fostered  and  strengthened,  and  the  work  sus- 
tained in  many  districts  where  otherwise  it  would  have 
been  impossible.     To-day  the  Union  aids  some  twenty 

W.   Marten   Smith.   Esq., 
Late  Treasurer  Surrey  Congregational  Union. 

Henry  Jessey,  M.A., 
Ejected  Rector  of  St.  George's,  Southward 




This  venerable  church  has  long  claimed  to  be  the 
oldest  representative  of  Congregationalism,  not  only  in 
Surrey,  but  in  England ;  alleging  an  unbroken  succes- 
sion from  the  closing  years  of  the  sixteentli  century. 

The  claim  was  first  advanced,  about  1820,  by 
Benjamin  Hanbury,  the  erudite  compiler  of  "  Historical 
Memorials  of  the  Independents  "  ;  and  was  strenuously 
maintained  by  the  learned  Dr.  John  Waddington.  But 
a  careful  examination  of  documents  unknown  to  those 
diligent  investigators  clearly  shows  that  the  origin  of 
the  church  cannot  be  dated  earlier  than  1616  ;  and  that 
its  historic  continuity  from  that  time  to  the  present, 
though  probable,  cannot  be  regarded  as  altogether 
beyond  dispute.  It  is  proper,  however,  here  to  narrate 
in  brief  what  may  be  accepted  as  certain  about  the 
genesis  of  Congregationalism  in  Southwark  ;  because, 
though  continuity  of  organisation  cannot  be  insisted 
on,  moral  and  spiritual  continuity  are  unquestionable. 

There  were,  in  and  about  London,  a  considerable 
number  of  godly  men  and  women  who  had  been  con- 
strained by  conscience  to  separate  from  the  communion 
of  the  "  Church  by  Law  Established  "  ;  and,  believing 



that  the  Church  should  be  modelled  on  New  Testament 
teaching,  had  formed  a  fellowship  on  something  resem- 
bling Congregational  lines  at  least  as  early  as  1567. 
They  met  secretly  in  various  places — in  Islington,  Gray's 
Inn  Lane,  near  St.  Bartholomew's  Hospital,  in  Nicholas 
Lane  in  the  city,  at  Deptford,  Southwark,  and  St. 
George's  Fields.  Their  leader,  John  Greenwood,  was 
long  imprisoned  in  the  Fleet ;  and  during  his  temporary 
release,  in  1592,  a  party  of  them  assembled  in  the  house 
of  Roger  Rippon  in  Southwark,  organised  a  regular 
Congregational  Church,  and  appointed  elders  and  other 
officers.  Persecution  speedily  thinned  their  ranks.  Two 
of  their  number — Greenwood  and  Henry  Barrowe — 
were  put  to  death  on  April  6,  1593,  and  the  saintly 
patriot,  John  Penry,  on  May  29  of  the  same  year. 
Rippon  and  several  others  died  in  prison ;  and  of  the 
remainder,  the  greater  part  found  refuge  in  Holland.  A 
few  remaining,  and  some  of  these,  still  holding  fellow- 
ship with  the  exiles,  are  heard  of  as  late  as  1632. 

Another  Congregational  Church  was  gathered  by 
Henry  Jacob  in  1616.  He  had  been  educated  at  St. 
Mary  Hall,  Oxford,  had  held  a  Church  living  at 
Cheriton  in  Kent,  had  been  persecuted  and  imprisoned 
for  Puritanism,  had  migrated  to  Zealand,  and  had 
been  at  Leyden,  where  he  had  learned  from  that  grand 
old  Puritan,  John  Robinson,  his  beliefs  as  to  Church 
government.  In  1616  he  returned  to  England  with  the 
design  of  forming  a  church  upon  the  model  of  what  he 
had  seen  in  Holland.  In  Southwark  he  found  the 
material  to  his  hand,  and  laid  the  foundation  of  what  is 
believed  to  be  the  oldest  Independent  Church  in  Eng- 
land. The  brethren  appointed  a  solemn  day  of  fasting 
and  prayer,  for  the  blessing  of  God  upon  their  under- 
taking; and,  having  made  open  confession  of  faith,  with 


joined  hands,  solemnly  covenanted  with  each  other  in 
the  presence  of  Almighty  God  to  walk  in  His  ways  and 
ordinances,  as  He  had  revealed,  or  should  reveal  unto 
them.  Mr.  Jacob  was  chosen  pastor,  and  others  were 
appointed  to  the  office  of  deacon,  with  fasting  and 
prayer,  and  imposition  of  hands.  A  few  days  after- 
wards they  notified  their  proceedings  to  "  the  Brethren 
here  of  the  Antient  Church."  Little  is  known  of  Mr. 
Jacob's  pastorate,  but  it  is  interesting  to  remember  that 
during  this  time  the  church  provided  the  London  con- 
tingent of  the  first  passengers  in  the  Mayflower,  in 
1620,  so  earning  its  right  to  be  called  "  The  Church  of 
the  Pilgrim  Fathers."  Four  years  afterwards  Mr.  Jacob 
went  to  Virginia,  where  he  shortly  after  died. 

Henry  Jacob  was  succeeded  by  John  Lothrop,  or 
Lathrop,  who  had  been  a  clergyman  in  Kent,  but  had 
renounced  his  orders.  During  his  ministry  the  church 
was  often  disturbed  ;  and  on  one  occasion,  at  the  house 
of  Humphrey  Barnet,  a  brewer's  clerk  in  Blackfriars, 
forty-two  of  the  congregation  were  apprehended  and 
only  eighteen  escaped,  one  of  those  arrested  being  the 
celebrated  Praise-God  Barbone.  They  were  confined 
in  various  prisons,  in  one  of  which  they  had  as  com- 
panions two  members  of  "  the  Antient  Church,"  i.e., 
that  of  1567  or  1592. 

They  continued  in  prison  about  two  years,  and  were 
then  released  on  bail,  except  Mr.  Lothrop,  for  whom  no 
favour  could  be  obtained.  However,  he  petitioned  King 
Charles  for  liberty  to  depart  from  the  kingdom,  and  in 
1634  left  for  New  England  with  about  thirty  of  his 
people.  The  church  had  before  this  grown  so  numerous 
that  the  members  could  not  safely  meet  in  one  place ; 
and  some,  differing  from  the  rest  on  the  subject  of  infant 
baptism,  desired  a  friendly  dismissal  so  as  to  form  a  new 

£  2 


communion.  This  was  given,  and  on  September  12, 
1633,  a  Baptist  Church  was  organised  in  Wapping 
under  the  pastorate  of  John  Spilsbury.  This  is  now 
represented  by  the  church  in  Stoke  Newington,  which 
formerly  met  for  many  years  in  Devonshire  Square. 

After  this  secession  the  remnant  renewed  their  vows, 
and  were  so  steadfast  in  their  faith  that  in  spite  of  perse- 
cution scarcely  one  of  them  deserted  to  the  Established 

Both  Neal,  in  his  "  History  of  the  Puritans,"  and  Dr. 
Waddington,  in  his  "  Surrey  Congregational  History," 
name,  as  Lothrop's  successor,  John  Canne,  the  famous 
compiler  of  marginal  references  to  the  Bible.  But  this 
is  now  known  to  be  a  mistake  ;  Canne's  connection  was 
with  another  church  to  which  we  shall  presently  refer, 
and  before  Lothrop's  departure  he  had  removed  to 
Holland.  There  are  notices  of  him  in  two  of  his  books, 
published  in  1632  and  1634, as  "Pastor  of  the  Antient 
English  Church  at  Amsterdam." 

Lothrop's  successor  was  Henry  Jessey,  son  of  a  York- 
shire minister.  He  had  graduated  at  Cambridge,  and 
held  a  benefice  near  York,  but  was  displaced  for  refus- 
ing to  use  the  prescribed  ceremonies.  Being  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Uxbridge,  he  was  earnestly  importuned 
to  remove  to  London  and  take  charge  of  the  separated 
congregation.  About  midsummer,  1637,  "  he  answered 
their  desires,  came  and  joined  himself  to  them,"  and 
laboured  among  them  for  twenty-five  years.  In  1639  ne 
visited  Wales,  and  assisted  in  organising  the  church  at 
Llanvaches,  which  still  exists.  Under  the  Long  Parlia- 
ment he  was  appointed  rector  of  St.  George's,  Southwark, 
where  he  preached  in  the  morning,  and  to  the  "  Gathered 
Church  "  in  the  evening.  Where  the  latter  then  met  is 
not  known,  but  it  has  lately  been  ascertained  that  in 


1650 — 54  they  met  in  Swan  Alley,  Coleman  Street. 
Jessey  also  preached  once  a  week  at  Ely  House,  and  in 
the  Savoy  to  the  wounded  soldiers. 

During  Mr.  Jessey's  ministry,  in  1638,  another 
Baptist  secession  took  place.  A  little  later  the  congre- 
gation had  again  become  too  numerous  to  meet  in  one 
place  ;  so  in  May,  1640,  they  divided  themselves  equally 
and  became  two  congregations,  one  continuing  with 
Mr.  Jessey,  and  the  other  joining  themselves  to  Mr. 
Praise-God  Barbone,  who  obtained  such  celebrity  in 
Cromwell's  Parliament.  Five  years  after,  Mr.  Jessey 
himself  became  a  convert  to  Baptist  views,  and  was 
immersed.  Some  dissension  ensued;  but  an  advisory 
council  decided  that  the  case  was  one  for  mutual  for- 
bearance. After  the  Restoration  he  was  ejected  from 
St.  George's  and  twice  imprisoned.  Crosby  says  he 
died  in  prison,  but  Calamy  gives  his  death  as  five  or 
six  months  after  his  release.  He  lived  a  single  life,  and 
was  among  the  most  charitable  of  men. 

The  course  of  events  after  the  death  of  Jessey  is 
difficult  to  trace.  Part  of  the  church  reorganised 
themselves  on  strict  Baptist  lines,  and  in  1674  had  a 
minister  of  that  persuasion  named  James  Fitten,  who 
was  assisted  by  Henry  Forty.  A  few  years  later  these 
are  believed  to  have  united  with  another  Baptist 
Church,  which  subsequently  coalesced  with  that  in 
Devonshire  Square.  It  has  been  asserted  with  some 
confidence  that  the  paedobaptist  remnant  united  with 
a  church  whose  pastor  was  Stephen  More,  and  that  he 
was  succeeded  by  Thomas  Wadsworth.  But  recent 
investigations  show  that  this  could  not  have  been  the 
case.  It  will  be  convenient  here  briefly  to  sketch  the 
history  of  More's  fellowship.  It  was  gathered  in  1621, 
quite  independently  of  Jacob's  church,  by  one  Hubbard, 


who  was  succeeded  by  John  Canne,  before  referred  to. 
He  removed  to  Holland  about  1632,  afterwards 
ministered  in  Bristol  as  a  Baptist  and  Fifth  Monarchy 
Man,  and  was  still  living  in  1664.  After  his  removal 
the  church  chose  Mr.  Samuel  How,  said  to  have  been 
a  cobbler.  Mr.  How  is  believed  to  have  been  a 
member  of  Lothrop's  church.  He  does  not  seem  to 
have  had  any  pretence  to  learning,  and  published  a 
sermon  under  the  title  of  "  The  sufficiency  of  the 
Spirit's  teaching  without  human  learning  "  ;  but  was 
evidentlv  well  stored  with  religious  knowledge.  One 
account  of  him  says  "  His  manner  of  studying  on  a 
text  was,  as  he  sat  in  his  shop  mending  of  shoes,  his 
Bible  lay  by  him,  and  when  he  thought  fit,  he  looked 
therein  and  considered  thereof." 

Some   of  the  editions  of  Mr.  How's  discourse  have 
the  following  lines  in  the  title  page  : — 

'•  What  Hoiv  ?  how  now  ?  hath  How  such  learning  found, 
To  throw  art's  curious  image  to  the  ground  ? 
Cambridge  and  Oxford  may  their  glory  now 
Vail  to  a  Cobbler  if  they  know  but  How. 
Though  big  with  art,  they  cannot  overtop 
The  Spirit's  teaching  in  a  Cobbler's  shop." 

Mr.  How  ministered  to  the  congregation  for  seven  years, 
but  was  at  last  cited  to  the  courts  and  excommuni- 
cated. He  died  in  prison  about  1640,  and  not  having 
received  episcopal  benediction  was  buried  in  the  high- 
way near  St.  Agnes  la  Clair. 

The  next  to  minister  to  the  little  flock  was  Stephen 
More,  a  citizen  of  good  repute  and  a  man  of  consider- 
able substance,  who  had  for  several  years  held  the 
office  of  deacon.  In  January,  1641,  they  were  disturbed 
by  the  Marshal  of  the  King's  Bench,  and  a  number  of 
them  taken  before  Sir  John  Lenthall,  who  committed 


them  to  the  Clink  prison.  It  is  said  that  six  or  seven 
of  them  were  brought  before  the  House  of  Lords,  who 
ordered  them  to  be  admonished  to  repair  to  their 
several  parish  churches.  Neal  says  that  the  Lords 
treated  them  courteously,  and  asked  where  their 
assembly  was;  and  that  the  following  day  three  or 
four  of  the  peers  went  to  the  meeting  contributed 
liberally  to  the  collection,  signified  their  satisfaction 
with  what  they  had  heard  and  seen,  and  their  inclina- 
tion to  come  again.     But  the  second  visit  was  never 

PaMore's  meeting-house  was  in  Deadman's  Place-so 
called  from  a  burial  ground  in  its  vicinity-which  forms 
part  of  what  is  now  called  Park  Street.  After  the 
Restoration  he  was  imprisoned,  and  his  congregation 
scattered;  but  under  the  Indulgence  of  1672  he  was 
licensed  (May  20)  as  an  Independent  teacher  in  the 
house  of  Barnabas  Bloxon,  in  Winchester  Yard  near 
St  Mary  Overies.  He  died  in  1684,  and  his  church, 
having  had  in  succession  three  other  pastors,  was  dis- 
banded in  1705.  . 

We  now  revert  to  the  Church  of  the  Pilgrims.     As 
above   stated,   after   the   death   of  Jessey  part  of  the 
society  became    a  strict  Baptist  fellowship;  and  it  is 
believed    that    the    remainder  constituted  at  least  the 
nucleus   of  the   church   which,    after   the  indulgence, 
enjoyed  the  ministry  of  Thomas  Wadsworth.     Wads- 
worth    was     a     Southwark     man,    who,     under    the 
Commonwealth,    occupied  the  sequestered  rectory   of 
Newington  Butts.     This,    after    the    Restoration,    he 
relinquished  to  the  former  incumbent,  becoming  curate 
at    St.    Lawrence    Poulteney,    from  whence    he  was 
ejected  by  the  Act  of  Uniformity.     Thenceforward  he 
resided  chiefly  at  Theobalds,  Herts,  where  he  preached 


to  a  private  congregation,  and  also  ministered  occasion- 
ally to  his  old  parishioners  at  Newington.  Before 
1669,  however,  he  had  built  a  wooden  meeting  house 
in  Globe  Alley,  Maid  Lane;  which  is  mentioned  in 
Sheldon's  return  of  Conventicles  in  that  year.  His 
name  does  not  appear  among  the  Southwark  licensees 
in  1672,  probably  because  he  resided  elsewhere  ;  but 
there  can  be  little  doubt  that  "  the  house  of  George 
Ewen  in  Southwark "  was  the  Maid  Lane  meeting 
house.  There  was  also  a  licence  to  Andrew  Parsons, 
the  ejected  minister  of  Wem,  Salop,  for  his  house  in 
Deadman's  Place  "  and  any  other  licensed  place." 
Now  Ewen,  so  far  as  is  known,  was  not  a  minister, 
while  Wadsworth  and  Parsons  are  known  to  have  been 
colleagues ;  and  we  are  distinctly  told  that  after  the 
Indulgence  Wadsworth  ceased  his  ministration  at 
Newington  Butts,  and  divided  his  labours  between 
Theobalds  and  Southwark.  Whether  the  meeting  in 
Deadman's  Place  was  in  a  private  house,  or  in  the 
building  formerly  occupied  by  More,  is  unknown  ;  or 
whether  a  new  meeting  house  was  built  at  that  time, 
or  subsequently.  Certainly  there  was  a  substantial 
building  with  galleries  there  in  1690.  Now,  with 
regard  to  the  historic  continuity  of  the  church,  it  is 
noteworthy  that  all  the  licensed  meetings  in  South- 
wark can  be  accounted  for  except  these  two  in  Maid 
Lane  and  Deadman's  Place.  It  is,  therefore,  not  un- 
reasonable to  suppose  that  one  or  both  represented  the 
paedobaptist  section  of  Jessey's  church,  possibly  sup- 
plemented by  some  adherents  of  Wadsworth  from 
Newington  Butts,  and  some  members  of  More's 
scattered  flock.  It  is  no  objection  that  both  Wads- 
worth and  Parsons  were  licensed  as  Presbyterians — 
descriptive  terms  in  the  licences  are  very  unreliable  ; 


More,  for  example,  is  licensed  as  an  Independent,  and 
his  meeting-house  as  Presbyterian. 

Wadsworth  is  described  as  a  man  of  unusual  ability, 
judgment,  and  piety  ;  a  strict  Sabbatarian,  and  very 
charitable.  He  was  accustomed  to  make  collections 
for  distressed  ministers,  both  at  Theobalds  and  South- 
wark.  He  had  but  feeble  health,  and  died  October  29, 
1676,  at  the  age  of  forty-six. 

After  Wadsworth's  death,  Parsons  removed  to  Bridge 
Street,  Covent  Garden,  and  died  in  1684.  Whether 
the  meeting  in  Deadman's  Place  was  temporarily  dis- 
continued we  do  not  know.  The  celebrated  Richard 
Baxter  occupied  the  pulpit  in  Maid  Lane  for  several 
months  in  1676—77  :  he  was  invited  to  the  pastorate, 
but  declined  ;  "  however,"  he  says,  "  I  preached  many 
months  in  peace,  there  being  no  justice  willing  to 
disturb  us." 

The  next  pastor  was  James  Lambert.  Little  is  known 
of  him,  except  that  he  was  a  popular  preacher  and  had 
a  large  congregation.  He  was  one  of  four  ministers 
chosen  in  1678  to  preach  an  evening  lecture  at  a  coffee- 
house in  Exchange  Alley,  Cornhill  ;  this  lecture  was 
supported  by  some  of  the  most  considerable  merchants 
in  London.  Mr.  Lambert  died,  at  the  age  of  forty-five, 
on  August  9,  1689,  and  was  buried  in  Bunhill  Fields, 
where  a  long  Latin  inscription  records  his  virtues. 

On  the  death  of  Mr.  Lambert  a  division  took  place. 
Part  of  the  congregation  desired  Nathaniel  Oldfield,  son 
of  an  ejected  minister,  as  their  pastor;  while  others  pre- 
ferred Jonathan  Owen  (or  Wowen),  who  had  been 
chaplain  to  a  nobleman,  and  refused  a  good  benefice 
offered  on  condition  of  conformity.  The  former  section 
continued  to  occupy  the  building  in  Maid  Lane,  and 
were  regarded  as  Presbyterians,  though  as  a  matter  of 


fact  Independent.  Mr.  Oldfield  ministered  to  them  for 
six  years,  died  in  1696,  and  was  succeeded  by  Thomas 
Kentish,  son  of  an  ejected  minister  of  the  same  name, 
who  died  in  1700.  He  was  followed  by  Joshua 
Oldfield,  D.D.,  brother  of  Nathaniel,  who  ministered 
till  his  death  in  1729.  He  had  several  assistants,  one 
of  whom  was  Benjamin  Grosvenor,  afterwards  the 
popular  minister  of  Crosby  Hall.  Another  was 
Obadiah  Hughes,  D.D.,  who  became  co-pastor  in  1721, 
and  at  length  succeeded  to  the  sole  pastorate.  In  1743 
he  removed  to  Westminster,  after  which  the  society  fell 
on  evil  times  ;  one  John  Ward,  chosen  pastor  in  1747, 
adopted  Unitarian  opinions  and  scattered  the  church, 
which  was  finally  dispersed  in  1752. 

The  other  section,  with  Mr.  Owen,  frankly  professed 
Congregationalism.     They  met  in  Deadman's  Place — 
either  in  a  newly-built  meeting  house,  or  in  that  for- 
merly used  by  Parsons.    Owen  was  a  man  of  considerable 
wealth  ;  and  about  1694  gave  to  the  church  the  four 
silver  communion  cups  which  are  still  in  use.     For  a 
short  time  he  was  assisted  by  Philip  King,  who  died  in 
1699.     In  1702,  owing  to  some  disagreement,  Mr.  Owen 
resigned.     He  afterwards  became  a  Baptist,  and  died 
at  Bristol  in    1725,  aged   80.     He  was   succeeded   at 
Deadman's  Place  by  John   Killinghall,  from   Beccles, 
who  remained  with  the  church  nearly  forty  years.     He 
was  one  of  the  subscribing  members  of  the    Salters' 
Hall  Assembly  in  1719.     He  is  described  as  a  talented 
man  and  a  good  preacher,  but  his  popularity  declined  ; 
and  at  his  death,  in   January,  1740,  the  congregation 
was  greatly  diminished.     Walter  Wilson   affirms  that 
the  church  was  dissolved,   and  that  the  Zoar  Street 
congregation     engaged     the    deserted     building  ;     but 
Hanbury  maintains  that  the  two  churches  coalesced, 


which  seems  the  more  probable  from  the  continuous 
use  of  Owen's  communion  cups. 

The  Zoar  Street  Church  originated  with  John  Chester, 
ejected  in  1662  from  Wetherley,  in  Leicestershire.     He 
ministered   privately   in    Southwark    from    1665,   was 
licensed  in  1672  as  Presbyterian  teacher  at  a  house  in 
Maid  Lane,  and  built  the  meeting  house  in  Zoar  Street 
in  1687.     He  was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Protestant 
Dissenters'  School  in  Gravel  Lane.     He  died  in   169b. 
Little  is  known  of  his  successor,   Henry   Read,  who 
was  followed  in  1698  by  Samuel  Palmer,  famous  for  his 
defence  of   Dissenters'  Academies  against  the  attacks 
of  Samuel  Wesley  of  Epworth.     In  1710,  however,  he 
conformed  to  the  Established   Church,  to  which   his 
after-life  brought  no  credit.     His  assistant  from  1704, 
and  successor,  was  the  learned  Dr.Zephaniah  Marryatt, 
who,  with  his  people,  removed  to  Deadman's  Place  in 
1740  ;  uniting,  it  is  believed,  with  the  feeble  remnant  of 
the  Pilgrims'  Church. 

Zoar  Street  Chapel,  it  may  be  remarked,  was  con- 
verted to  secular  uses ;  and,  having  been  turned  into  a 
workshop,  was  pulled  down  towards  the  middle  of  the 
nineteenth  century. 

Dr.  Marryatt  presided  over  the  united  churches  to  the 
end  of  his  life  ;  and  from  1744  was  one  of  the  tutors  of 
the  Academy  then  located  at  Plasterers'  Hall,  but  after- 
wards removed  to  Homerton.  He  died  September  15, 
1754,  only  a  few  hours  after  preaching  to  his  congrega- 
tion from  the  words  "  Casting  all  your  care  upon  Him, 
for  He  careth  for  you." 

From  1755  to  1762  Timothy  Lamb  held  the  pastorate. 
He  was  a  native  of  Wimborne,  in  Dorsetshire,  where 
he  first  began  to  preach.  He  was  invited  to  settle  in 
that  town,  but  declined,  and  shortly  after  accepted  the 


invitation  to  Deadman's  Place.  He  was  one  of  the 
ministers  who  waited  upon  George  III.  with  the  address 
of  the  Dissenters  upon  his  accession  to  the  throne.  His 
health  failed  and  he  retired  to  Dorchester,  where  he 
continued  to  preach  with  great  acceptance  till  his 
death,  August  21,  1771,  at  the  age  of  thirty-nine  years. 

In  1762  Dr.  James  Watson  was  called  to  the  vacant 
pulpit.  For  several  years  he  acted  as  secretary  to  the 
Board  of  Protestant  Dissenting  Ministers  of  the  three 
denominations.  He  was  well  versed  in  all  legal  matters 
relating  to  Dissenters;  and  to  his  other  abilities  he 
seems  to  have  added  considerable  skill  in  physic. 

Dr.  John  Humphries  succeeded  him,  March  3,  1784. 
During  this  ministry  the  congregation  severed  their 
long  connection  with  Deadman's  Place,  and  removed 
to  a  chapel  in  Union  Street,  Borough,  a  good  substantial 
brick  building  with  three  galleries.  Dr.  Humphries 
remained  with  the  church  for  thirty-five  years,  re- 
peatedly declining  invitations  to  important  churches. 
However,  in  1819  he  accepted  the  head-mastership  of 
Mill  Hill  Grammar  School,  and  died  in  1837. 

Rev.  William  Campbell  Kidd  was  the  next  minister. 
His  pastorate,  which  commenced  February  2,  1820, 
was  troubled  and  unhappy,  and  of  no  long  continuance. 
He  was  followed,  January  2g,  1823,  by  Rev.  John 
Arundel,  for  many  years  the  faithful  and  laborious 
Home  Secretary  of  the  London  Missionary  Society. 

Twenty  years  later,  Rev.  John  Lyon  was  appointed 
co-pastor,  and,  on  the  resignation  of  Mr.  Arundel  in 
1845,  became  sole  pastor  of  the  Church.  But  in  a  few 
months  he  was  invited  to  Hadleigh,  in  Suffolk.  His 
retirement  from  Union  Street  seems  to  have  caused 
great  disappointment,  although  there  appears  no  reason 
to  blame  Mr.  Lyon. 

Rev     John   Waddington,  D.D.,   Southwark. 


In  1846  Dr.  Waddington,  the  well-known  historian 
of  Congregationalism,  accepted  the  charge  of  the  church. 
Things  were  then  at  a  low  ebb,  financial  difficulties 
harassed  the  members,  and  the  lease  of  the  premises 
had  nearly  expired.  Many  expected  that  when  the 
lease  ran  out  the  Church  must  be  dissolved. 

But  Dr.  Waddington's  ministry  put  new  heart  into 
the  people,  and  on  September  2,  1850,  it  was  resolved 
to  secure  the  perpetuity  of  the  church,  and  erect  a 
memorial  building  in  commemoration  of  the  Pilgrim 

Although  the  avowed  sympathy  of  Congregationalism 
was  behind  the  scheme,  there  were  great  difficulties  in 
the  way.  Dr.  Waddington  says :  "  There  was  no 
kindling  of  generous  enthusiasm ;  by  many  the  design 
was  scouted  in  ignorance  as  one  of  strange  eccentricity, 
and  by  others  it  was  covertly  resented  as  a  claim  to 
invidious  distinction."  Every  step  of  this  enterprise 
was  taken  in  the  face  of  new  difficulties.  At  one 
time  the  church  was  upon  the  verge  of  financial  ruin, 
and  only  saved  by  a  gift  from  a  widow  in  humble 

On  the  expiration  of  the  lease,  November,  1855,  the 
services  were  carried  on  at  37,  Bridge  House  Place, 
Newington  Causeway.  One  Sabbath  morning,  Octo- 
ber 19,  1856,  the  congregation  found  the  door  locked 
against  them.  They  had  to  wait  in  the  street,  and  it 
looked  as  though  this  historic  church  would  there  and 
then  be  finally  dispersed.  But  in  less  than  ten  minutes 
shelter  was  offered  in  an  adjoining  house  and  the 
services  resumed. 

On  May  29,  1856,  the  foundation  stone  of  the 
memorial  building  was  laid  by  Alderman  Wire;  but 
money  collected  for  the  object  was  withheld,  and  the 


demand  of  the  builder  could  not  be  met.  Relief  came 
unexpectedly  from  the  United  States,  and  the  work 

It  was  decided  to  build  first  the  Pilgrim  Hall,  which 
was  commenced  on  October  29,  1856.  Again  the  fund 
collected  was  not  available,  and  the  following  spring 
the  builder  gave  notice  that  the  work  would  close,  and 
served  the  minister  and  committee  with  a  writ  for  £962. 
In  their  distress  they  took  refuge  in  prayer.  £200  was 
raised  by  the  people  themselves,  and  a  second  and 
larger  instalment  by  William  Armitage,  of  Manchester, 
a  friend  of  the  minister. 

Then  some  influential  friends  in  London  took  up  the 
case,  and  on  January  i,  1858,  a  statement  was  issued 
signed  by  Messrs.  Apsley,  Pellatt,  Henry  Ellington, 
Joshua  Field,  Samuel  Morley,  and  Alderman  Wire 
expressing  sympathy  with  Dr.  Waddington,  and  heading 
a  special  subscription.  This,  with  funds  obtained  by 
Dr.  Waddington  in  America,  discharged  all  liabilities 
with  the  exception  of  £800,  which  was  transferred  from 
an  endowment  fund  for  the  use  of  the  minister,  and 
used  as  a  temporary  loan.  At  this  time  Mr.  Wire  and 
Mr.  Pellatt  died,  and  again  defeat  seemed  to  threaten 
the  enterprise.  But  a  new  friend  was  found  in  Mr. 
Benjamin  Scott,  who  devoted  himself  to  the  comple- 
tion of  the  work.  A  new  trust  was  formed  for  that 
purpose,  consisting  of  Mr.  Samuel  Morley,  Mr.  William 
Armitage  and  Mr.  Scott,  and  aided  by  the  London 
Congregational  Chapel  Building  Society  the  building  of 
the  Memorial  Church  was  recommenced.  The  founda- 
tion stone  was  laid  July  22,  1863,  and  the  building 
opened  for  public  worship  May  25,  1864. 

Dr.  Waddington  retired  in  1871,  and  died  in  1880. 
He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  A.  F.  Barfield,  minister  of  a 

Church  of  the   Pilgrim   Fathers,  Southwar 

Opened   1864. 


church  in  Deverell  Street,  which  had  seceded  from  the 
Wesleyans  in  1864,  and  now  united  with  the  Pilgrim 
Church.  He  removed  to  Walsall  in  1879,  and  was 
followed  by  Rev.  Lloyd  Harris. 

Mr.  Harris  did  good  service,  largely  on  social  lines, 
but  the  spiritual  work  was  not  forgotten.  He  died  in 
1883,  and  his  funeral  was  one  of  the  most  remarkable 
displays  of  public  regard  ever  seen  in  the  neighbourhood. 

Rev.  F.  Barclay  was  the  next  minister.  He  com- 
menced his  work  on  June  29,  1884,  and  continued  on 
the  same  lines.  He  was  very  generously  assisted  by 
Mr.  W.  J.  Palmer,  a  wealthy  member  of  the  Society  of 

In  1892,  Rev.  F.  Docker  succeeded.  Mr.  Docker  had 
previously  held  pastorates  at  Solihull  and  West  Brom- 
wich.  For  thirteen  years  he  "  held  the  fort "  amid 
the  ever  increasing  difficulties  of  South  London  Church 
life,  but  resigned  the  pastorate  in  1905.  The  conditions 
at  this  time  were  very  depressing,  and  fears  were  enter- 
tained as  to  the  possible  extinction  of  this  historic 
church.  But  such  dishonour  to  the  memory  of  the 
Pilgrims  was  averted  by  timely  aid  from  a  few  private 
sympathisers  ;  and  after  an  interval  of  some  months 
Rev.  George  Dent  undertook  the  difficult  but  honourable 
post.  Mr.  Dent  was  a  Cheshunt  student,  who  had 
ministered  for  four  years  at  Epping,  but  was  fully 
acquainted  with  the  conditions  of  life  in  working-class 
districts  of  South  London.  He  took  charge  towards 
the  end  of  1906,  and  by  the  grace  of  God  continues 
to  this  day. 

It  may  be  convenient  to  exhibit  in  the  form  of  a 
diagram  the  rather  intricate  history  of  the  Pilgrim 
church,  and  those  with  which  it  has  been  historically 

"Brethren  of  the  Separation,"  1567. 

Fitz's  Church,  formed  in 
Bridewell  Prison,  1568. 

Meetings  in  Islington, 
Deptford,  &c,  1576. 

Church  formed  in  the  house  of 
Roger  Rippon,  1592. 

Remnant  of  Ancient  Church  in 
London,  last  heard  of  1632. 

Exiled  Church  in  Amsterdam, 
1594,  following. 

Church  gathered  by  H.  Jacob,  1616. 
J.  Lothrop,  1624. 
Secession  un»ler  Spilsbury.  1633. 

H.  Jessey,  1634. 
Further  Baptist  Secession,  1638.   | 
Barbone,  1640. | 

Later  history 

of  this  church 


(Jessey  died,  1663.) 

W.  Kiffin.                                    I             m  _  Mr    ,     I      . 

Jas.  Fitten  and  T.  Wadsworth  and 

H.  Forty,  1674.  A.  Parsons,  1672.  " 

Baptist  I 

Church  R-  Baxter,  1676. 

in  Petty,     After  1678.  I 

France.  J.  Lambert,  1677. 

Hubbard's  Church,  1621. 

J.  Canne. 


S.  Howe,  about  1633. 


S.  More,  1640. 

(Church  scattered, 
.1663;  revived,  1672.) 

N.  Oldfield,  1690.  Jon.  Owen,  1690. 

1  I 

T.  Kentish,  1696. 

Josh.  Oldfield,  D.D.,  1700. 

J.  Killinghall,  1702. 

Obadiah  Hughes,  D.D.,  1729. 

W.  Bushnall,  1744. 

John  Ward,  1747. 
Church  dissolved,  1752. 

(Killinghall  died,  1740.) 

(More  died,  1684.) 





(Church  dissolved,  1705.) 

Deverell  Street : 

(Originally  Wesleyan.) 

N.  T.  Langridge,  1864. 

R  Seddon,  1865. 

G.  O.  Frost,  1866. 

A   F.  Barfield,  1870. 


Zoar  Street : 
J.  Chester,  1665. 

H.  Read,  1694. 

S.  Palmer,  1698. 


Z.  Marryatt,  1710. 

T.  Lamb,  1754. 
J.  Watson,  D.D.,  1762. 

J.  Humphries,  1784. 

W.  C.  Kidd,  1820. 

J.  Arundel,  1823. 

J.  Lyon,  1845. 


J.  Waddington,  D.D.,  1846. 

(Retired   1871.) 

Lloyd  Harris,  1880 

F.  Barclay,  1884. 

F.  Docker,  1892 

G.  Dent,  1906. 


Note  —The  dotted  lines  indicate  that  the  connection,  though  probable,  is  not  absolutely  certain. 




It  is  generally  admitted  that  the  founder  of  this 
cause  was  the  Rev.  John  Maynard,  M.A.,  who  built  the 
old  meeting  house  in  1657.  Mr.  Maynard  was  a 
graduate  of  Queen's  College,  Oxford,  a  member  of  the 
Westminster  Assembly,  a  preacher  before  the  Long 
Parliament,  and  an  assistant  commissioner  for 
removing  scandalous  ministers.  In  1646  he  was 
appointed  to  the  sequestered  vicarage  of  Camberwell. 
His  Puritanism  made  him  unpopular  with  some  of  his 
parishioners,  who  tried  unsuccessfully  to  remove  him 
on  the  ground  that  he  had  a  living  in  Sussex.  How- 
ever, according  to  local  tradition  he  was  "  forced  bv 
religious  intolerance  to  resign  the  vicarage,"  and  his 
successor  was  appointed  in  1653.  He  then  took  up  his 
residence  in  what  is  now  called  Meeting  House  Lane, 
where  he  preached  in  his  own  house,  till  the  Old 
meeting  house  which  gave  its  name  to  the  thorough- 
fare was  erected.  We  are  not  told  when  he  left 
Peckham.  The  living  in  Sussex,  already  referred  to, 
was  Mayfield.  He  was  appointed  there  in  1625,  and 
ejected  in  1662.  Thither  he  returned  on  leaving 
Peckham,  and  died  amongst  his  old  parishioners,  June  7, 
1665.  He  was  buried  in  Mayfield  Churchyard  ;  a  Latin 
inscription  on  his  tombstone  speaks  of  him  as  "  The 
Light  and  Ornament  of  the  Parish  for  forty  years." 

Waddington  says  that  Maynard  was  followed  by 
Rev.  Bartholomew  Ashwood,  the  ejected  rector  of 
Axminster  in  Devon.     But  from  some  ancient  records 



of  the  church  there,  which  were  published  in  1874, 
Ash  wood  appears  to  have  organised  a  Congregational 
Church  in  Axminster,  in  1660,  and  to  have  ministered 
there  until  his  death  in  1678.  Probably  he  may  have 
visited  Peckham  and  preached  there  occasionally,  or  he 
may  have  been  confounded  with  his  son,  John  Ashwood, 
a  subsequent  minister  of  the  church.  The  history  of 
the  church  during  the  years  tha*:  followed  Maynard's 
retirement  is  obscure.  There  is  no  mention  of  any 
meeting  at  Peckham  or  Camberwell  in  Sheldon's  list  of 
Conventicles,  published  in  1669,  nor  was  any  place 
licensed  under  the  Indulgence  of  1672.  It  would  seem 
therefore  that  the  meeting  house  was  for  a  time  dis- 
used, and  if  any  Nonconformist  worship  was  carried  on, 
it  must  have  been  in  secret.  The  next  minister  of 
whom  we  have  any  notice  is  Rev.  Joseph  Osborne,  who 
had  held  the  vicarage  of  Benenden  in  Kent.  He  was 
highly  appreciated  there,  and  after  trial  by  Cromwell's 
commissioners  his  appointment  was  confirmed.  At  the 
Restoration  he  was  strongly  urged  to  conform ;  and 
the  patron  of  the  living,  a  hearty  Royalist,  refused  to 
present  anyone  in  his  place.  But  Osborne  replied  that 
"  faith  and  a  good  conscience  would  stand  him  in  more 
stead  than  a  hundred  livings."  After  his  ejectment  in 
1662  he  still  persisted  in  his  Nonconformity,  though 
the  Dean  of  Rochester  offered  him  a  better  benefice 
than  that  of  which  he  had  been  deprived.  After  several 
removals  he  took  up  his  abode  at  Brighton,  where  on 
May  8,  1672,  he  was  licensed  under  the  Indulgence  as 
an  Independent  preacher,  and  ministered  to  a  settled  con- 
gregation for  nine  years.  In  1681,  being  again  harassed 
for  his  Nonconformity,  he  came  to  Peckham,  where  he 
continued  to  preach  till  1689.  He  then  removed  to 
Ashford    in    Kent,    and   afterwards   held  pastorates   at 


Tenterden  and  Barsted.  From  the  latter  he  retired  on 
account  of  infirmity,  and  ended  his  days  at  Staplehurst 
on  December  28,  17 14,  at  the  age  of  eighty-five. 

Rev.  John  Beaumont  followed.  He  had  been  a 
student  of  Morton's  Academy,  Newington  Green,  and 
was  privately  ordained,  with  several  other  ministers,  in 
1689.  Soon  afterwards  he  came  to  Peckham,  where 
he  remained  till  his  removal  to  Battersea  in  1698. 
Afterwards  he  went  to  Deptford,  where  he  ministered 
till  his  death  in  1736. 

His  successor  was  the  Rev.  John  Ashwood,  son  of 
Bartholomew  Ashwood  of  Axminster.  He  was  born  in 
the  same  year  in  which  the  meeting  house  was  built ; 
and  studied  under  Theophilus  Gale,  in  his  Academy  on 
Newington  Green.  For  some  time  he  was  a  school- 
master at  Axminster  and  Chard. 

Ashwood  was  involved  in  the  Duke  of  Monmouth's 
rebellion,  and  sentenced  to  death  by  Jeffreys,  but  "  was 
saved  from  execution  by  the  means  usually  employed 
in  such  cases  at  the  needy  court."  After  holding  a 
pastorate  at  Exeter,  and  preaching  in  Hoxton  and 
Spitalfields,  he  came  to  Peckham  in  1698,  where  he 
died  September  22,  1706,  aged  forty-nine.  The  only 
information  that  we  have  of  the  church  during  the  next 
ten  years  is  from  the  list  of  meeting  houses  in  England, 
compiled  by  Dr.  John  Evans  in  1717,  where  we  learn 
that  the  pastorate  was  held  by  one  George  Davy,  who 
removed  to  Moorfields  in  1716. 

He  was  followed  by  the  celebrated  Dr.  Samuel 
Chandler,  who  was  the  son  of  a  minister  at  Hungerford 
(afterwards  at  Bath).  He  studied  first  under  John 
Moore  at  Bridgwater,  and  afterwards  under  Samuel 
Jones  at  Gloucester.  There  he  formed  life-long  friend- 
ships  with    two    fellow-students    named    Butler    and 

c  2 



Seeker,  both  of  whom  conformed  to  the  Established 
Church,  and  became,  one,  Bishop  of  Durham,  and 
author  of  the  immortal  "  Analogy  of  Religion,"  and  the 
other  Archbishop  of  Canterbury. 

Chandler  spent  some  time  at  the  University  of 
Leyden  ;  and  in  1716  was  chosen  pastor  of  the  Church 
in  Peckham.  The  next  year,  the  lease  of  the  old 
meeting  house  having  expired,  the  congregation 
removed  to  a  new  edifice  on  the  site  now  occupied 
by  Hanover  Chapel.  Three  years  later  Mr.  Chandler, 
having  suffered  seriously  by  the  notorious  "  South  Sea 
Bubble,"  endeavoured  to  supplement  his  rather  meagre 
stipend  by  opening  a  bookseller's  shop  in  the  Poultry, 
which  business  he  carried  on,  conjointly  with  his 
pastorate,  for  several  years.  During  this  time  he  was 
associated  with  Dr.  Nathaniel  Lardner  in  a  weekly 
lecture  at  the  Old  Jewry  meeting  house  on  the 
Evidences  of  Natural  and  Revealed  Religion. 

From  1726  to  1729  he  acted  as  assistant  minister  to 
Rev.  Thomas  Leavesley  at  Old  Jewry,  and  in  the  latter 
year  left  Peckham  altogether  to  become  his  co-pastor. 
Chandler  was  a  man  of  great  learning,  and  published 
many  valuable  works.  He  received  diplomas  of  D.D. 
from  the  Universities  of  Edinburgh  and  Glasgow,  was 
a  Fellow  of  the  Royal  Society,  and  of  the  Society  of 
Antiquaries.  He  died  May  8,  1766,  in  the  seventy-third 
year  of  his  age,  and  was  buried  at  Bunhill  Fields. 

Rev.  Thomas  Hadfield,  M.D.,  was  the  next  minister. 
He  was  ordained  as  co-pastor  in  1726,  and  when  Dr. 
Chandler  left  in  1729  became  full  pastor.  He  died  at 
the  age  of  forty-six  on  February  21,  1741. 

He  was  followed  by  Rev.  John  Milner,  D.D.  He  is 
believed  to  have  been  a  Somerset  man,  and  was 
educated  under  the  Rev.  John  Moore,  at  Bridgwater. 


His  wife  was  a  daughter  of  one  of  the  Taunton  maids 
who,  in  1685,  under  the  direction  of  the  patriotic 
schoolmistress,  Miss  Blake,  embroidered  the  Monmouth 
banner.  Fortunately  for  her  she  was  removed  from 
the  school  before  the  actual  presentation.  The  loca- 
tion of  Dr.  Milner's  first  pastorate  is  not  known,  but  in 
1722  he  ministered  to  a  congregation  at  Yeovil,  where 
he  also  kept  a  grammar  school.  He  came  to  Peckham 
on  Dr.  Hadfield's  death,  and  set  up  a  boarding  school 
in  Meeting  House  Lane.  Amongst  his  ushers  was 
Oliver  Goldsmith. 

He  was  a  man  of  scholarly  attainments  and  a 
popular  preacher,  and  gathered  around  him  many 
persons  of  social  standing  and  culture.  Among  them 
was  Chief  Justice  Copeland,  who  contributed  liberally 
to  the  enlargement  of  the  meeting  house.  Dr.  Milner 
died  June  24,  1757,  at  the  age  of  69,  and  was  buried  in 
Camberwell  churchyard. 

He  was  succeeded  in  August,  1758,  by  the  Rev. 
Samuel  Billingsley,  son  of  Richard  Billingsley,  pastor 
at  Whitchurch,  Hants,  and  grandson  of  Nicholas 
Billingsley,  who  had  been  ejected  by  the  Act  of 
Uniformity  from  Weobly,  Herefordshire.  He  was 
ordained  at  Marlborough  in  1725  ;  removed  thence  to 
Ashwick,  Somerset,  where  he  continued  eighteen 
years  ;  thence  to  Bradford-on-Avon,  where  he  minis- 
tered for  ten  years.  At  Peckham  he  was  greatly 
beloved  for  his  wisdom,  zeal  and  kindness  of  heart.  In 
1770  he  retired  to  Bath,  where  he  ended  his  days. 

After  Mr.  Billingsley  removed  to  Bath,  the  pulpit 
was  supplied  by  various  preachers,  but  principally  by 
the  son  of  the  late  minister,  and  by  Rev.  Richard 
Jones,  both  of  whom  seem  to  have  been  candidates  for 
the    vacant    position.     Mr.    Jones    was    invited    and 


commenced  his  ministry  February  13,  1770.  He  had 
been  a  pupil  of  Dr.  Doddridge,  and  subsequently 
minister  at  Cambridge  and  Crosby  Hall.  He  is 
described  as  a  ripe  scholar,  a  fine  preacher,  and  a 
saintly  man  ;  but  he  held  Arian  views,  and  his  ministry 
on  the  whole  was  a  failure. 

During  his  pastorate  the  freehold  of  the  building  was 
secured,  the  lease  granted  in  1717  having  been  only 
for  sixty  years  ;  and  the  property  was  put  in  trust. 
But  the  congregation  steadily  dwindled,  and  towards 
the  end  the  members  could  be  counted  on  one's 
fingers.  Mr.  Jones  died  on  September  30,  1800,  in  the 
seventy-third  year  of  his  age. 

Soon  after  Mr.  Jones's  death  the  church  officers, 
being  disappointed  of  a  supply,  sent  to  Homerton 
College  for  a  student.  A  young  man  of  nineteen  was 
sent,  who,  knowing  that  Arian  teaching  had  long  pre- 
vailed, preached  a  warm  evangelical  sermon.  Much  to 
his  surprise,  he  was  asked  to  repeat  the  visit,  and 
ultimately  was  invited  to  the  pastorate.  Thus  began 
the  memorable  ministry  of  William  Bengo  Collyer, 
which  continued  fifty-two  years.  He  was  ordained  on 
November  17,  1801.  At  his  first  communion  service, 
January,  1802,  five  new  members  were  added  to  the 
ten  who  previously  formed  the  entire  fellowship. 
Thenceforth  the  growth  of  the  church  was  rapid,  and 
in  a  year's  time  the  congregation  numbered  500. 
Prayer  meetings  and  a  week-night  lecture  were  initi- 
ated;  a  Sunday  school  was  commenced  in  1804,  and  two 
years  later  a  day  school  on  the  Lancasterian  plan.  In 
1807  Mr«  Collyer  preached  a  series  of  sermons  on 
"  Scripture  Facts,"  which,  being  published,  formed  the 
first  of  seven  volumes  (the  latest  of  them  in  1823), 
which  together  constitute  a  valuable  course  of  Christian 


Apologetic.  These  sermons  attracted  much  attention, 
and  in  the  lists  of  subscribers  appear  the  names  of  two 
princes,  a  lord  chancellor,  several  peers,  and  at  least 
six  bishops. 

In  1808  Mr.  Collyer,  then  only  twenty-six  years  old, 
received  from  the  University  of  Edinburgh  a  diploma 
of  D.D.,  which  is    said   to   have  come  "through  the 
hands  of  H.R.H.  the  Duke  of  Kent."     About  this  time 
commenced    that    acquaintance  with   members  of  the 
royal  family,  the  origin  of  which  has  never  been  clearly 
explained,  which  grew  into  a  warm  personal  friendship 
with  the    Dukes   of    Kent   and  Sussex,  especially  the 
former.     Of  this    friendship   many  apocryphal  stories 
are  told,  but  it  is  certain  that  the  two  princes  frequently 
attended    Dr.    Collyer's    ministry,    and   there    is  some 
authority  for  the  statement  that  in  her  early  childhood 
Queen  Victoria  was  an  occasional  playmate  of  his  only 

In  1812  Dr.  Collyer  published  a  collection  of  hymns, 
nearly  a  thousand  in  number,  including  about  sixty  of 
his  own  compositions.  The  book  was  one  of  unusual 
merit  for  its  day,  and  a  few  of  the  original  hymns  are 
still  in  common  use.  In  January,  1814,  he  undertook 
the  Sunday  afternoon  services  at  Salters'  Hall,  an 
ancient  Presbyterian  Church  where,  under  Arian  and 
Unitarian  teaching,  the  congregation  had  dwindled  to  a 
handful.  Here,  as  at  Peckham,  Dr.  Collyer's  ministry 
led  to  both  numerical  and  spiritual  revival.  But  in 
June,  1825,  he  found  it  necessary  to  restrict  his  labours 
to  Peckham  ;  Salters'  Hall  again  declined,  and  in  a  few 
years  was  closed. 

In  1817  the  Peckham  meeting  house,  built  just  a 
hundred  years  before,  gave  place  to  the  present  more 
commodious  structure.     "  Hanover  Chapel,"  so  named 


in  compliment  to  the  royal  family,  was  opened  on 
June  17,  Dr.  Collyer  preaching  in  the  morning,  and 
W.  Joy,  of  Bath,  in  the  evening.  The  Duke  of  Sussex 
was  present  at  both  services.  The  organ  is  said  to  have 
been  given  by  the  Duke  of  Kent. 

Up  to  this  time  the  Peckham  dissenters  had  always 
been  reputed  Presbyterians,  though  practically  Inde- 
pendent. Dr.  Collyer  was  an  Independent  by  conviction, 
but  scarcely  a  Congregationalist.  He  was  somewhat 
autocratic,  and  had  no  liking  for  Church  meetings.  If 
he  would  have  conformed  to  the  Established  Church 
the  highest  dignities  would  have  been  within  his  reach ; 
but  notwithstanding  courtly  associations  he  steadily 
adhered  to  the  principles  of  Evangelical  Noncon- 

In  later  years  Dr.  Collyer  became  weary  of  popularity, 
considering  that  God's  work  was  best  advanced  by 
steady,  regular,  organised  labour.  Though  by  no  means 
free  from  personal  vanity,  he  was  kind  and  gentle  to  an 
extreme,  "  his  heart  and  purse  ever  open  to  the  cry  of 
the  needy."  Latterly  he  published  little  except  occa- 
sional sermons ;  but  in  1838,  when  the  Dissenters' 
Marriage  Act  was  passed,  he  issued  a  useful  manual  of 
liturgical  forms  for  marriage,  baptism,  burial,  &c, 
with  about  ninety  original  hymns  for  sacramental 
and  ceremonial  occasions,  and  for  the  use  of  the 
sick.  In  1846,  increasing  feebleness  necessitated  an 
assistant,  who  was  found  in  the  person  of  Rev.  H. 
Gamble,  from  Margate.  He  was  installed  as  co-pastor 
on  November  8  of  that  year,  and  rendered  valuable 
service  for  about  six  years,  after  which  he  removed  to 

On  entering  on  the  fiftieth  year  of  his  ministry,  Dr. 
Collyer  preached  a  remarkable  sermon  from  Acts  xxvi. 

Rev.  Wm.  Bengo  Collyer,  D.D.,  LL.D.,  Peckiiam. 


22-3,  in  which  he  solemnly  appealed  to  all  who  had 
ever  heard  him  whether  he  had  at  any  time  swerved 
from  the  doctrine  laid  down,  and  the  profession  made, 
at  his  ordination.  About  this  time  he  received  from  the 
church,  as  a  mark  of  esteem  and  affection,  a  portrait 
of  himself  painted  by  H.  W.  Pickersgill,  R.A. 

On  May  1, 1853,  Rev.  R.  W.  Betts,  from  New  College, 
entered  on  the  duties  of  assistant  minister ;  and  for  the 
few  months  that  ensued  the  most  affectionate  relations 
obtained  between  him  and  his  venerable  senior.  Dr. 
Collyer  preached  his  last  sermon  on  December  11,  1853, 
and  died  on  Sunday,  January  8,  1854,  in  his  seventy- 
second  year.     He  is  buried  in  Nunhead  cemetery. 

Mr.  Betts,  who  now  succeeded  to  the  pastorate,  was 
a  native  of  Portsea.  He  was  an  effective  open-air 
preacher,  a  form  of  Christian  service  in  which  he  greatly 
delighted.  He  was  a  leading  promoter  of  the  united 
mission  services  which  have  ever  since  been  held  on 
Peckham  Rye.  Early  in  the  course  of  his  pastorate  the 
church  was  regularly  organised  on  Congregational 
lines,  and  deacons  first  appointed.  Difficulties  arose  in 
the  church  from  personal  jealousies  and  antagonisms, 
which  were  finally  solved  by  the  withdrawal  of  some 
members  "  who  might  not  have  profited  so  well  had 
they  remained." 

The  school  accommodation  being  very  defective, 
Mr.  Betts  proposed  a  building  which  should  serve 
for  school  and  social  purposes,  and  at  the  same  time 
be  a  memorial  of  his  revered  predecessor.  The  plan 
was  realised,  and  in  1862  "  Collyer  Hall "  was  opened 
and  paid  for.  Another  enterprise  was  less  success- 
ful. A  small  chapel  in  Hatcham  was  rented  in  hope 
that  it  might  become  the  nucleus  of  a  new  church. 
The  mission  was  carried  on  with  varying  fortunes  and 


many    disappointments,   and   was    finally    abandoned 
in  1906. 

Mr.  Betts  was  active  in  the  initiation  of  the  Surrey 
Congregational  Union.  His  labours  were  more  than 
once  interrupted  by  failure  of  health,  and  he  died,  after 
much  suffering,  on  December  1, 1868,  in  his  forty-fourth 

Rev.  G.  B.  Ryley,  who  succeeded,  was  a  Cheshunt 
student,  and  had  held  a  four  years'  pastorate  at  Booking, 
Essex.  His  labours  at  Peckham,  from  1870  to  1889, 
were  abundant  and  fruitful.  The  character  of  the 
neighbourhood  was  steadily  changing,  and  new  forms 
of  Christian  work  were  demanded,  to  which  Mr.  Ryley 
devoted  himself  energetically,  being  especially  the  friend 
of  the  poor.  For  some  years  he  did  valuable  service  as  a 
member  of  the  London  School  Board.  During  his 
pastorate  Collyer  Hall  was  improved  by  the  addition  of 
a  gallery,  class-room,  &c,  at  a  cost  of  £"1,100.  After 
about  nineteen  years  Mr.  Ryley  removed  to  Christ 
Church,  Addiscombe. 

Three  short  pastorates  followed  in  quick  succession. 
Rev.  Henry  Barron,  a  student  of  New  College,  had, 
in  the  course  of  fourteen  years,  ministered  at  Ports- 
mouth, Basingstoke,  and  Batley  (Yorkshire),  in  all  which 
he  had  done  valuable  service.  He  accepted  a  call  to 
Peckham  in  1890,  but  the  situation  proved  uncongenial, 
and  he  only  remained  about  a  year.  He  afterwards 
ministered  at  Tooting.  Rev.  John  Wills,  from  Hands- 
worth  Wesleyan  College,  followed  from  1892  to  1894, 
and  then  removed  to  West  Croydon.  He  was  succeeded 
by  Rev.  J.  W.  Bowman,  M.A.,  B.D.,  a  student  of 
Lancashire  College,  who  had  laboured  for  five  years  at 
Newcastle.  He  came  to  Peckham  in  1895,  and  resigned 
in  1900.     He  has    since   ministered   in   the  North   of 


England.  It  was  by  this  time  recognised  that  new 
conditions  required  new  methods.  The  chapel  was 
renovated,  the  electric  light  introduced,  and  "evenings 
for  the  people"  instituted,  where  secular  topics  were 
treated  in  a  religious  spirit.  In  1901  the  pastorate  was 
undertaken  by  Rev.  John  James  Pool,  B.D.,  who  had 
ministered  for  six  years  at  Union  chapel,  Calcutta,  and 
for  ten  years  at  the  English  Congregational  Church, 
Rheims.  Under  his  guidance  measures  were  adopted 
to  increase  the  spiritual  efficiency  of  the  church 
by  work  on  social  lines  ;  in  which  valuable  aid  was 
rendered  by  Mr.  Walter  J.  J.  Franks,  formerly  a  lay 
preacher  in  the  Methodist  New  Connexion,  who  in 
1906  became  assistant  minister.  The  result  was  seen 
in  numerous  additions  to  the  church,  especially  of 
young  people.  But  a  few  months  later  the  health  of 
Mr.  Pool  completely  broke  down,  and,  a  period  of  rest 
and  a  sea  voyage  having  failed  to  restore  it,  he  resigned 
the  pastorate  from  June,  1907.     He  is  now  in  America. 

The  250th  anniversary  of  the  church  was  celebrated 
on  April  14,  1907,  and  following  days.  Memorial 
sermons  were  preached  by  the  venerable  J.  G.  Rogers, 
D.D.,  and  a  series  of  enthusiastic  meetings  were  held  on 
several  successive  evenings,  followed  somewhat  later 
by  a  bazaar,  by  which  outstanding  debts  were  cleared. 
An  invitation  was  subsequently  given  to  Rev.  J.  Hugh 
Edwards,  of  Duhvich  Grove,  who,  on  the  first  Sunday 
of  1908,  intimated  his  acceptance  of  the  same,  Mr. 
Franks  resuming  the  post  of  assistant  minister. 

At  least  three  members  of  the  Hanover  Church  have 
gone  forth,  under  the  auspices  of  the  London  Missionary 
Society,  to  preach  the  Gospel  in  the  dark  places  of  the 
earth.  Miss  Anne  Keet  in  1823  became  the  wife  of 
Rev.  W*  Campbell,  of  Bangalore.    Rev.  Charles  Thomas 


Price,  after  a  course  of  study  at  Cheshunt  College, 
laboured  in  Madagascar  from  1875  to  1882,  and  has 
since  held  pastorates  at  Lenham,  Buckingham,  and 
Ross;  and  Rev.  Benjamin  Thomas  Butcher,  also  a 
Cheshunt  student,  was  appointed  in  1904  to  New 
Guinea,  where  he  is  still  labouring.  The  distinguished 
philanthropist,  Thomas  Thompson  (founder  of  the  first 
Sailors'  Home,  and  for  forty  years  treasurer  of  the  Home 
Missionary  Society),  and  his  daughter,  known  in  every 
Sunday  School  as  Jemima  Luke,  were  also  in  Dr. 
Collyer's  time  members  of  the  congregation. 



Soon  after  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
when  Bermondsey  was  a  pleasant  stretch  of  gardens, 
and  orchards  and  fields,  James  Janeway  was  a  student 
of  Christ  Church,  Oxford.  He  was  born  at  Lilley,  in 
Hertfordshire,  in  1636.  At  eight  years  of  age  he 
removed  to  Harpenden,  and  afterwards  settled  at 
Kelshall,  where  his  father  was  minister.  He  was  of  a 
weak  constitution  ;  his  four  brothers  all  like  himself 
entered  the  ministry,  and  all  like  himself  were  destined 
to  an  early  grave. 

Being  driven  from  the  University  by  persecution, 
Janeway  resided  for  some  time  at  Windsor,  as  private 
tutor,  and  then  removed  to  Bermondsey.  Close  by  the 
house  where  he  lived,  in  Salisbury  Place,  stood  a  large . 

Rev.  James  Janeway,  Bermondsey. 


building  known  as  the  Jamaica  Barn,  capable,  it  is  said, 
of  holding  2,000  persons.  It  must  have  required  no 
little  faith  and  courage  for  a  delicate  young  man  of 
twenty-six  to  venture  on  so  large  a  building  ;  but 
Janeway  took  the  barn  and  opened  it  as  a  meeting 
house.  The  results  justified  him,  for  Calamy  says  that 
he  had  a  very  numerous  auditory,  and  a  great  reforma- 
tion was  wrought  amongst  many. 

But  this  only  enraged  the  anti-puritan  party,  and 
several  attempts  were  made  upon  his  life.  On  one 
occasion  he  was  shot  at,  but  the  bullet  went  through 
his  hat  and  did  him  no  harm.  On  another  occasion  a 
party  of  troopers  entered  the  meeting  house  to  seize 
him,  and  Janeway  only  escaped  by  someone  throwing  a 
coloured  coat  over  him  and  putting  a  white  hat  on  his 
head,  in  which  disguise  he  got  away  safely.  Another 
time  he  was  preaching  at  a  gardener's  house,  when 
several  soldiers  came  in  ;  he  escaped  by  lying  on  the 
ground  and  being  covered  with  cabbage  leaves.  Mis- 
taking the  preacher  for  a  heap  of  garden  refuse  the 
troopers  passed  by. 

Until  the  year  1670,  a  very  successful  work  was 
carried  on  by  the  young  preacher  in  the  old  barn, 
assisted  by  Richard  Kentish,  who  afterwards  became 
minister  of  the  Weigh  House  Chapel.  But  in  that 
year  the  Act  against  Conventicles  was  renewed  with 
greater  severity  than  before.  Christopher  Wren,  of 
St.  Paul's  Cathedral  fame,  the  surveyor-general  of  His 
Majesty's  works,  was  according  to  the  records  of  the 
Privy  Council  "authorised  and  requested  forthwith,  in 
His  Majesty's  name,  and  to  his  use,  to  seize  and  enter 
upon  all  houses  in  and  about  the  cities  of  London  and 
Westminster,  and  liberties  and  suburbs  thereof,  and 
borough  of  Southwark,  and  parts  adjacent,  and  shut 


up  such  houses  in  such  manner  as  that  no  assemblies 
be  from  henceforth  kept  therein."  A  subsequent  in- 
struction, dated  July  22,  1670,  after  a  long  preamble, 
required  him  to  cause  the  barn  to  be  pulled  down  and 
utterly  demolished,  which  was  accordingly  done,  and 
the  congregation  left  homeless.  But  not  for  long  : 
another  building  was  at  once  erected,  and  it  says  some- 
thing for  the  success  of  the  young  minister  that  a  larger 
place  of  worship  was  required  to  accommodate  the 
crowds  that  came. 

In  1672  the  King  granted  an  Indulgence  to  Conven- 
ticles. The  document  contains  a  remarkable  admission 
of  the  futility  of  persecution.  It  says:  "  It  is  evident 
by  the  sad  experience  of  twelve  years  that  there  is  very 
little  fruit  of  all  these  forcible  courses."  Amongst  the 
many  who  applied  for  an  Indulgence  was  Mr.  Janeway. 
There  are  two  entries  amongst  the  State  Papers : — 

"  April  11, 1672.  Request  by  Janeway  at  a  place  near 
Salisbury  Street. 

"  April  14.  Licence  granted  to  James  Janeway  at  his 
house  in  Salisbury  Street,  Bermondsey." 

Janeway  did  not  long  live  to  enjoy  the  freedom  of 
worship.  Three  at  least  of  his  brothers  were  dead, 
and  ere  long  the  successful  preacher  of  "The  Barn" 
followed  them.  He  was  ready ;  not  long  before  his 
death  he  said  he  could  now  as  easily  die  as  shut  his 
eyes.  He  died  March  16,  1674.  His  funeral  sermons 
were  preached  by  Mr.  Nathaniel  Vincent,  of  Southwark, 
and  Mr.  Ryther,  of  Wapping.  He  was  buried  near  his 
father  in  St.  Mary's  Church,  Aldermanbury.  Several  of 
his  publications,  especially  his  "  Token  for  Children," 
were  long  popular. 

Mr.  Janeway  was  succeeded  by  the  famous  Thomas 
Rosewell,    who    was   introduced    to   the   church    by  a 


neighbouring  minister,  Mr.  Parsons,  of  Deadman's 
Place.  Mr.  Rosewell  was  born  at  Dunkerton,  near 
Bath,  and  educated  in  that  city.  He  had  a  somewhat 
varied  career,  serving  first  as  an  accountant,  and  then 
as  a  silkman  in  Cheapside.  Later  he  inclined  to  the 
ministry,  and  entered  Pembroke  College,  Oxford,  in 
1647.  On  leaving  college  he  became  tutor  at  Ware, 
near  Bideford,  and  soon  after  was  presented  by  Lady 
Hungerford  to  the  rectory  of  Rhode,  Somerset.  In 
1657  he  removed  to  Sutton  Mandeville,  from  which 
place  he  was  ejected  in  1662. 

Upon  his  ejectment  Lady  Hungerford  again  befriended 
him,  and  invited  him  to  accept  the  position  of  chaplain 
in  her  family.  A  story  is  told  that  whilst  with  Lady 
Hungerford,  Mr.  Rosewell  had  occasion  to  remonstrate 
with  her  for  some  failings  ;  this  he  did  in  so  prudent  and 
effectual  a  way  that  she  retired  to  pray,  and  when  she 
came  forth  it  was  with  £100,  which  she  presented  to 
Mr.  Rosewell  in  token  of  her  esteem  at  his  faithfulness, 
to  be  used  one  half  for  himself  and  one  half  for  the  poor. 
Later  he  acted  as  chaplain  to  Lord  Wharton,  from  whose 
house  he  removed  to  Bermondsey. 

At  the  funeral  of  Janeway,  he  was  seen  in  earnest 
conversation  with  Mr.  Parsons,  and  shortly  afterwards 
there  came  an  almost  unanimous  invitation  to  accept 
the  charge  of  the  vacant  church.  It  was  not  wholly 
unanimous,  but  later  the  dissentients,  headed  by  a 
Mr.  Atkinson,  came  and  told  Mr.  Rosewell  that  they 
had  given  their  votes  to  another,  but  as  it  was  the 
general  wish  of  the  church  that  he  should  be  their 
minister,  they  had  come  to  request  him  to  accede,  and 
to  own  him  as  their  pastor.  Would  that  all  church 
differences  could  be  settled  in  as  gracious  a  spirit. 

For  some  years  Mr.  Rosewell  laboured  in  peace,  but 


subsequently  determined  efforts  were  made  to  prevent 
his  preaching  and  to  break  up  his  church.  On  one 
occasion  his  house  was  rifled  and  his  goods  sold  at  the 
door,  and  the  Justice  took  what  he  pleased  for  himself. 
Being  prevented  from  preaching  in  the  meeting  house, 
he  held  services  in  private  houses,  which  he  did  twice 
on  the  Lord's  Day,  in  spite  of  all  opposition. 

On  September  14, 1684,  he  preached  from  Genesis  xx., 
concerning   Abraham    and   Abimelech.      Two   women 
spies  got  into  the  meeting,  and  so  shamefully  wrested 
some  words  he  used,  that  he  was  accused  of  treason. 
A  few  days  later  he  was  apprehended  in  his  own  house 
and  taken  before   Judge  Jeffreys.     Jeffreys  asked  him 
where    he    preached    on    September    14,    whereupon 
Rosewell,  on  account  of  the  other  persons,  answered 
him  in  Latin.      Jeffreys  sneered    that  he  supposed  he 
could  not  speak  another  sentence  in  Latin  if  it  were  to 
save  his  neck.     Rosewell  gave  him  an  answer  in  Greek, 
on  which  the  Judge,  in  a  rage,  ordered  him  to  be  taken 
away.     A  true  bill  was  found  against  him  at  the  next 
quarter  sessions  at  Kingston,  and  he  was  tried  before 
the  Court  of  the   King's   Bench,  November  18,  1684. 
Although  the  evidence  was  of  the  flimsiest  character, 
and  several  persons  who  were    present   testified   that 
Rosewell  never   used  the  words  charged  against  him, 
Jeffreys  urged  the  jury  to   convict,  and  a  verdict  of 
"guilty"  was  returned.     The  jury  were   ashamed  of 
their  verdict,  and  petitioned  that  it  might  be  set  aside. 
A  strong  feeling  was  aroused  in  Rosewell' s  favour,  and 
Sir  John  Talbot,  who  was  present  at  the  trial,  although 
not  a  friend  to  dissenters,  told  the  King  "that  he  had 
seen  the  life  of  a  person,  who  appeared  to  be  a  gentle- 
man and  a  scholar,  in  danger  upon  such  evidence  as  he 
would  not  hang  a  dog  on  "  ;   adding,   "  if  your  Majesty 


suffers  this  man  to  die,  we  are  none  of  us  safe  in  our 
houses."  The  end  of  it  was  that  Rosewell  was  granted 
a  royal  pardon,  and  was  discharged  on  bail. 

Mr.  Rosewell  outlived  his  trial  seven  years.  He  died 
February  14,  1692,  in  the  sixty-second  year  of  his  age, 
and  was  buried  in  Bunhill  Fields,  where  a  long  Latin 
inscription  tells  of  his  eminent  piety  and  learning  and 
many  sufferings  for  Christ's  sake. 

Mr.  Rosewell  was  followed  by  Rev.  Samuel  Stancliff, 
M.A.,  who  was  ejected  from  Stanmore  Magna.  He 
was  a  native  of  Halifax,  and  was  educated  at  the  free 
school  of  that  town.  In  consequence  of  a  gift  of  £100, 
a  column  is  erected  in  the  school-house  to  his  memory. 
Calamy  speaks  of  him  as  a  man  of  no  party,  an  eminent 
divine,  and  having  an  admirable  gift  in  prayer.  Ill 
health  at  length  compelled  him  to  resign  his  charge  at 
Bermondsey.  He  died  at  Hoxton,  December  12,  1705, 
at  the  age  of  seventy-five. 

In  that  same  year  John  Radcliffe  accepted  the 
pastorate.  He  is  principally  known  as  a  great  advocate 
of  catechetical  instruction  for  the  young,  in  which  work 
he  had  remarkable  success.  He  is  said  to  have 
thoroughly  instructed  no  less  than  ten  thousand  persons 
in  the  Assembly's  Catechism,  and  to  have  spent  from 
£400  to  £500  annually  in  Bibles  or  other  books  given 
as  rewards.  He  passed  to  his  rest  on  February  16, 
1728,  in  the  fifty-first  year  of  his  age. 

Jamaica  Row  suffered  severely  from  the  wave  of 
Arianism  that  passed  over  the  country  in  the  eighteenth 
century.  We  are  told  that  the  next  minister,  Thomas 
Mole,  taught  the  people  "  another  Gospel "  to  the  growing 
injury  of  the  congregation.  His  successor,  Dr.  Flexman 
(1747 — 83),  pursued  the  same  course.  Though  an  able 
man  and  of  great  learning,  we  read  that  he  devoted  his 



extensive  learning  to  the  work  of  undermining  the  faith 
of  the  Gospel.  As  a  result,  all  activity  and  spiritual 
life  died  down,  and  when  he  left  the  cause  was  almost 
extinct.  Indeed,  such  was  the  state  of  affairs  that  the 
managers  sold  the  lease  of  the  Chapel,  and  presented 
the  proceeds  to  the  minister.  They  had  no  Charity 
Commissioners  in  those  days.  Dr.  Flexman  lived  twelve 
years  after  his  retirement. 

Various  attempts  were  made  to  revive  the  work,  but 
without  permanent  success.  Amongst  other  things,  the 
experiment  of  a  liturgy  was  tried,  but  with  no  good 
result.  At  last  the  Rev.  John  Townsend,  who  was 
leaving  Kingston-on-Thames,  was  invited  to  try  and 
restore  the  shattered  fortunes  of  the  church.  Between 
thirty  and  forty  members  gathered  ;  the  church,  for- 
merly accounted  Presbyterian,  was  reorganised  on 
Congregational  lines,  and  on  October  28,  1784,  Mr. 
Townsend  was  publicly  recognised  as  pastor. 

The  old  Arian  contentions  and  the  mixed  character 
of  his  congregation  at  first  made  his  work  by  no  means 
easy.  After  this  heresy  had  died  down,  he  says  "we 
were  disturbed  by  an  antinomian  spirit."  At  first  he 
thought  of  resigning,  but  wisely  reflected  that  "  this 
would  have  left  the  Church  a  prey  to  these  mistaken 
and  disputatious  men,"  so  he  rather  urged  upon  the 
discontented  the  propriety  of  their  leaving  a  church, 
the  doctrine  of  whose  minister  they  had  forsaken. 
They  seem  to  have  seen  the  wisdom  of  this  course,  for 
twelve  or  fourteen  withdrew,  and  left  the  Church  in 
comfort  and  peace. 

Mr.  Townsend  died  February  7,  1826,  in  the  sixty- 
ninth  year  of  his  age.  He  was  a  man  of  large  experience, 
sound  sense,  and  active  zeal.  He  founded  the  Asylum 
for  the  Deaf  and  Dumb,  and  the  Congregational  School 


at  Lewisham  (now  at  Caterham),  and  took  a  prominent 
part  in  establishing  several  of  the  religious  institutions 
that  were  called  into  existence  about  that  time.  He 
left  a  charge  to  his  people  to  be  read  after  his  death, 
containing  some  excellent  advice  as  to  the  choice  of  a 
successor.  Amongst  other  things,  he  urged  them  to 
have  only  one  candidate  at  a  time,  a  wise  counsel  which 
churches  would  do  well  to  follow. 

Mr.  Townsend  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  George  Rose. 
He  was  a  Londoner  by  birth ;  his  early  religious 
impressions  had  been  received  under  the  preaching  of 
Rev.  W.  Gurney  at  the  Episcopal  Chapel,  West  Street, 
Soho ;  but  it  was  under  the  pastorate  of  Rev.  Matthew 
Wilks  that  he  decided  to  enter  the  ministry.  He  wished 
to  become  a  missionary,  but  was  overruled,  and  at  the 
advice  of  Mr.  Wilks  offered  himself  for  ministerial  work 
in  Ireland.  He  laboured  for  several  years  at  Bray, 
Wexford,  and  other  places;  and  then  returning  to 
England,  was  introduced  by  his  old  pastor  to  Jamaica 
Row.  On  Mr.  Townsend's  death,  he  occupied  the 
pulpit  for  three  months,  with  such  acceptance  that  he 
was  invited  to  become  pastor.  He  was  ordained  in 
November,  1826,  when  the  charge  was  given  by 
Dr.  Collyer,  of  Hanover  Chapel,  Peckham.  For  more 
than  forty  years  Mr.  Rose  exercised  a  peculiarly  gracious 
ministry  which  endeared  him  to  a  large  circle  of  friends. 
He  was  for  some  years  Secretary  of  the  Congregational 
Board,  and  also  of  the  Irish  Evangelical  Society,  and 
for  more  than  twenty  years  Secretary  of  the  Congrega- 
tional School,  Lewisham.  He  was  a  faithful  minister 
and  an  attractive  preacher ;  a  man  of  ready  wit,  and  inno- 
cent fun,  his  presence  was  always  welcome  in  social  life. 

During  the  pastorate  of  Mr.  Rose  a  new  church  was 
built.     The  claims  of  an  increasing  neighbourhood  and 

D  2 


large  Sunday  school  rendered  more  accommodation 
absolutely  necessary.  The  old  building  was  found  to 
be  unsuitable  for  enlargement,  and  the  timber  of  the 
roof  so  decayed  that  it  was  a  matter  of  thankfulness  no 
accident  had  occurred.  The  new  building  was  opened 
on  Thursday,  December  6,  1849. 

Through  advancing  age  Mr.  Rose  resigned  in  1867. 
He  retired  to  Beckenham  on  an  annuity  raised  by  the 
church,  and  died  July  13,  1869,  at  the  age  of  71. 

In  May,  1865,  Rev.  John  Farren,  a  student  of 
Hackney  College,  was  invited  to  become  co-pastor  with 
Mr.  Rose.  During  his  ministry,  in  1879,  Janeway 
Hall  was  erected  at  a  cost  of  £3,600,  and  opened  free 
of  debt.  For  twenty-eight  years  he  sustained  a  faithful 
and  successful  ministry  until,  owing  to  failing  health,  he 
retired  in  June,  1893.  He  subsequently  held  a  charge 
at  East  Brighton,  and  is  living  to-day  at  Norwood. 

In  January,  1894,  Rev.  Heber  Rosier  accepted  an 
invitation  to  the  church.  He  retired  in  September, 
1901,  to  take  the  pastorate  at  Erith. 

He  was  followed  by  Rev.  W.  J.  Rowlands,  who 
commenced  his  labours  in  January,  1904.  Mr.  Row- 
lands was  educated  at  Bala  College,  Bangor.  His  first 
charge  was  at  Exeter,  where  he  remained  two  years. 
From  the  beauties  of  a  Devonshire  town  to  the  squalor 
of  Bermondsey  was  a  great  change,  but  Mr.  Rowlands 
set  himself  to  appeal  to  the  non-church-going  public  by 
an  Institute  for  young  men,  and  a  Guild  for  young 
women.  The  church  has  to  face  great  and  increasing 
difficulties  owing  to  the  exodus  of  the  wealthier  classes 
to  the  suburbs,  but  it  is  manfully  holding  on  its  way. 
Mr.  Rowlands  removed  in  1906  to  Hirwain,  Glamorgan 
and  the  church  is  now  supplied  by  a  "  lay  pastor,"  Mr. 
H.  N.  Gardiner. 




Waddington  tells  us  that  "  Croydon  is  mentioned  as 
one  of  the  places  in  which  a  Christian  Society  was 
formed  by  the  remarkable  efforts  of  Francis  Holcroft, 
M.A.,  Fellow  of  Clare  College,  Cambridge,  who 
suffered  an  imprisonment  of  twelve  years  for  his 

Mr.  Holcroft  was  a  man  of  prodigious  labours,  and 
one  would  not  be  surprised  at  anything  he  did  in  the 
way  of  planting  churches  ;  but  we  can  find  no  record 
of  his  connection  with  Croydon.  According  to  Calamy, 
the  historian  of  the  ejectment,  Holcroft's  labours 
appear  to  have  been  mostly  confined  to  Cambridge- 
shire. There  he  was  looked  upon  as  pastor  of  all  the 
churches  of  the  county.  And  there  certainly  could  not 
have  been  much  time  for  work  in  Croydon,  though  he 
lived  twenty  years  after  his  ejectment,  considering  how 
many  of  them  were  spent  in  gaol. 

The  first  Nonconformist  preacher  in  Croydon  of 
whom  we  have  any  record  is  Thomas  Taylor.  He  was 
born  at  Seaming  in  Norfolk,  and  educated  at 
Wymondham  and  Cambridge.  His  father  took  him 
away  from  the  University  for  fear  of  his  becoming  a 
Puritan  ;  but  the  effect  of  his  training  there  must  have 
influenced  him  in  after  years,  for  we  find  him  ejected 
from  a  living  at  Bury  St.  Edmunds,  and  imprisoned 
twelve  months  for  his  Nonconformity.  After  his 
release  he  went  to  London  and  became  a  tobacco 
merchant,  but  still  preached  occasionally,  sometimes 


in  the  City,  and  sometimes  at  Croydon.  After  the 
Indulgence  he  went  to  Cambridge,  and  succeeded  Mr. 
Holcroft.  He  preached  there  till  November,  1700, 
when  he  died  at  the  age  of  70. 

Other  Nonconformist  meetings  must  have  existed  in 
Croydon  at  this  early  date,  for  we  read  of  three 
licences  granted  in  1672  ;  one  to  the  house  of  John 
Worrell,  Presbyterian ;  another  to  Francis  Smith,  in  a 
room  formerly  a  malt  house,  in  the  west  part  of 
Croydon,  Anabaptist ;  and  a  third  licence  to  Edward 
Baker,  in  the  house  of  Nathaniel  Read,  Congrega- 
tional.    But  concerning  these  we  know  nothing. 

The  records  of  the  next  half-century  are  very  scanty 
and  vague.  Richard  Conder  is  given  as  pastor  from 
1689  to  1718  ;  although  in  the  list  of  Nonconformist 
churches  made  in  1715,  John  Davy  is  returned  as 
minister  for  Croydon.  Then  we  have  a  Mr.  Dixie,  and 
after  him  Jabez  Conder,  who  entered  on  the  charge  in 
1725,  and  remained  a  year.  Waddington  adds  "  The 
church  is  said  to  have  been  scattered  by  a  minister  who 
became  a  Baptist." 

The  next  pastor  was  Joshua  Stopford,  a  student  of 
Hoxton  Academy,  who  was  ordained  July  9,  1755- 
He  removed,  seven  years  later,  to  Enfield.  He  must 
have  made  some  friends  in  Croydon,  for  we  read  that  a 
gentleman  there  left  him  a  handsome  fortune.  Upon 
this  he  returned  to  his  former  pastorate  in  1770,  lived 
in  a  retired  manner,  and  preached  once  a  day.  Henry 
Taylor,  a  student  from  Daventry,  was  probably  his 

About  1765  the  congregation  removed  from  the  old 
meeting  house  in  Park  Lane,  or  Back  Lane,  as  it  was 
then  called,  to  a  little  chapel  on  the  site  of  the  present 
one  in  George  Street. 


The   next   minister   was    Mr.    Rainsfore.      He   was 
ordained  in  1783,  and  held  the  pastorate  five  years. 

In  1790,  Mr.  Golding  succeeded  to  the  pulpit.  A 
note  of  his  ordination  in  the  Evangelical  Magazine  tells 
us,  in  the  quaint  wording  of  those  times,  that  Mr. 
Hamilton  began  the  service  by  prayer,  Mr.  Brooksbank 
"  introduced  the  work,  asked  the  questions  and  received 
the  answers  and  confession."  Mr.  Barber  prayed  the 
ordination  prayer,  Mr.  Winter,  of  Painswick,  delivered 
the  charge,  and  Mr.  Humphreys  prayed  before  the  ser- 
mon, which  was  preached  by  Mr.  Bowden,  of  Tooting, 
from  2  Sam.  xviii.  27.  In  the  evening  Rev.  William 
Jay,  of  Bath,  preached  a  lecture. 

Mr.  Golding  resigned  the  charge  in  1797,  and  was 
followed  two  years  later  by  Rev.  J.  Sabine,  a  student 
from  Hoxton  Academy.  During  his  ministry,  one  of 
the  first  Sunday  schools,  if  not  the  first,  in  Croydon, 
was  formed,  nineteen  years  after  Robert  Raikes  had 
commenced  his  work  in  Gloucester.  At  the  same  time 
a  small  building  was  opened  for  preaching  at  Thornton 
Heath,  and  a  school  started  there. 

Mr.  Sabine,  after  a  very  useful  ministry,  resigned  his 
charge  in  1806,  and  went  to  America. 

In  1808  the  Rev.  Benjamin  Kent  accepted  the  pas- 
torate. He  was  born  at  Rendham,  in  Suffolk,  in  1783, 
and  was  trained  at  Hackney  College.  He  laboured  at 
Croydon  with  success  until  1815,  when  he  removed  to 
Trowbridge.  He  afterwards  went  to  Barnstaple,  where 
he  died  November  4,  1848,  in  his  sixty-fifth  year.  It  is 
recorded  of  him  that  "his  consistent,  courteous  char- 
acter secured  for  him  the  respect  of  even  those  of  his 
fellow  townsmen  who  had  no  sympathy  with  his  dissent." 
After  Mr.  Kent's  removal  the  pulpit  was  filled  by 
supplies    until    1820,    when    Rev.    E.    H.    May,    from 


Rochford,  became  the  pastor.  Under  his  ministry  the 
congregations  greatly  increased,  and  an  enlargement 
became  necessary.  Till  this  time  the  chapel  would 
only  hold  200  persons.  The  improvement  was  carried 
out  at  a  cost  of  £700.  The  chapel  was  reopened  on 
Tuesday,  June  3,  1823.  For  ten  years  longer  Mr.  May 
ministered  at  George  Street,  but  in  1833  he  resigned, 
and,  like  Mr.  Sabine,  left  for  America. 

The  next  two  pastors,  Rev.  John  Barling  and  Rev. 
James  Drummond,  only  remained  a  few  months. 

In  1835,  Rev.  John  Bunter  accepted  a  call  to  the 
vacant  pulpit.  Mr.  Bunter  was  a  native  of  West 
Monkton,  near  Taunton,  where  he  was  born  August  18, 
1792.  Whilst  a  young  man  he  went  on  a  voyage  to 
Jamaica.  The  vessel  was  wrecked  and  he  was  with 
difficulty  saved.  This  led  to  his  conversion,  and  shortly 
after  he  entered  Hoxton  Academy.  His  first  charge  was 
Finchingfield,  Essex,  which  he  accepted  in  1824.  After 
eight  years'  service,  an  affection  of  the  eyes  compelled 
him  to  resign.  On  his  recovery  three  years  later  he 
settled  at  Croydon.  He  ministered  here  for  four  years, 
when  again  failing  health  compelled  him  to  resign. 
Two  years  later,  the  Rev.  William  Campbell,  formerly 
missionary  in  Bangalore,  entered  upon  the  charge,  July, 
1841.  During  Mr.  Campbell's  ministry  a  new  chapel 
was  built  at  a  cost  of  £2,400. 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  Joseph  Steer.  He  was 
born  at  Plymouth,  November  22, 1819,  where  he  entered 
upon  a  mercantile  career.  On  removing  to  London  in 
1840  he  decided  to  enter  the  ministry,  and  set  himself 
to  prepare  for  Highbury  College.  Overwork  brought 
on  a  severe  illness,  and  a  college  career  was  absolutely 
forbidden.  He  then  studied  quietly  with  his  uncle, 
Rev.  Samuel  Steer,  of  Castle  Hedingham,  until  1844, 


when  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Torpoint.  In  1846 
he  removed  to  Batter  Street,  Plymouth,  and  in  185 1  to 
Croydon.  During  Mr.  Steer's  ministry  the  chapel  was 
enlarged  by  the  erection  of  side  galleries,  and  the  entire 
debt  cleared  off.  About  this  time  the  church  at  London 
Road  was  formed ;  eight  members  withdrawing  from 
George  Street  for  that  purpose.  After  seven  years' 
successful  ministry,  Mr.  Steer's  health  again  gave  way, 
and  he  was  compelled  to  rest  for  a  while,  and  subse- 
quently to  seek  a  less  onerous  charge. 

He  removed  to  Sudbury,  where  he  was  spared  to 
labour  for  nineteen  years  longer.  In  1877,  he  accepted 
the  charge  of  Tottenham  High  Cross  Church.  Eight 
years  later  his  health  failed  once  more,  and  he  returned 
to  Chingford,  where  he  died  April  24,  1892. 

After  Mr.  Steer's  removal,  the  church  passed  through 
a  period  of  severe  trial,  and  was  for  several  years  with- 
out a  pastor,  till  in  1864  Rev.  Samuel  Parkinson,  from 
Cheshunt  College,  entered  into  the  work.  The  church 
was  so  convinced  that  Mr.  Parkinson  was  the  right  man 
that  it  waited  a  year  until  he  had  finished  his  college 
course.     He  was  ordained  October  13,  1864. 

Under  Mr.  Parkinson's  able  guidance  and  earnest 
work,  the  church  speedily  regained  its  former  position, 
and  the  membership  increased  beyond  any  earlier  record. 
A  large  number  of  Visitors  and  Evangelists  were  em- 
ployed ;  and  three  Sunday  schools  were  sustained. 

Mr.  Parkinson  remained  till  1872,  when  he  removed 
to  Halstead,  whence  he  retired  in  1907. 

On  July  4,  1873,  Rev.  N.  L.  Parky n,  from  Western 
College,  was  ordained.  Within  a  few  years  it  was  found 
necessary  again  to  build,  and  the  present  spacious  and 
handsome  church  in  George  Street  was  erected.  The 
Memorial  Stones  were  laid  on  Tuesday,  May  15,  1877, 


by  Mr.  J.  Spicer.  Twelve  months  later  the  church  was 
opened ;  Dr.  Dale  preached  at  noon  from  I  Tim.  ii.  5, 
and  Dr.  J.  G.  Rogers  in  the  evening.  The  total  cost 
of  the  building  was  £12,000,  towards  which  upwards 
of  £2,000  was  realised  at  the  services.  The  church 
will  hold  1,000  persons,  and  an  equal  number  of 
scholars  can  be  accommodated  in  the  schoolroom  in 
the  basement. 

Mr.  Parkyn  resigned  in  1878,  and  several  members 
of  the  congregation  withdrew  at  the  same  time.  The 
pastorate  remained  vacant  for  three  years,  until  its 
acceptance,  in  1881,  by  Rev.  William  Park.  Mr.  Park, 
who  was  educated  at  Glasgow  University  and  Theolo- 
gical Hall,  had  held  pastorates  at  Windermere,  South- 
port,  and  Tollington  Park,  London.  In  1883  a  success- 
ful effort  was  made  to  clear  off  the  debt  of  £4,000  that 
remained  as  a  heavy  burden  upon  the  church.  That  it 
was  successful  was  due  in  large  measure  to  the  efforts 
of  Mr.  L.  A.  Johns,  who  for  twenty  years  had  been  a 
deacon  of  the  church.  Mr.  Johns  died  in  1890,  and  a 
brass  was  placed  in  the  church  to  his  memory.  Mr. 
Park  held  the  pastorate  until  June,  1900.  On  his 
resignation  he  was  presented  with  a  cheque  for  £610. 

Rev.  R.  Baldwin  Brindley,  from  Nottingham  (the 
present  minister),  was  then  invited.  His  recognition 
took  place  on  Wednesday,  May  15,  1901. 



Nonconformity  in  Epsom  dates  from  the  year  i( 
when  a  congregation  met   under  the    pastoral  care  of 

George  Street  Church,  Croydon,    1878. 

EPSOM  43 

Mr.  Ewell  in  an  old  building   which   was   afterwards 
turned  into  a  dwelling-house. 

The  next  minister  we  hear  of  was  Benoni  Rowe,  the 
younger  brother  of  Thomas  Rowe,  a  man  of  consider- 
able reputation  among  the  Independents  of  that  day. 
He  was  born  in  London  about  1658.  His  father,  John 
Rowe,  was  minister  of  a  Congregational  Church  that 
met  during  the  Commonwealth  in  Westminster  Abbey. 
Rowe  seems  to  have  for  some  years  preached  in  London, 
though  his  services  were  frequently  interrupted.  About 
the  time  of  the  Revolution,  in  1688,  he  settled  at  Epsom, 
where  he  remained  eleven  years.  In  1699  he  succeeded 
Stephen  Lobb  at  Fetter  Lane,  where  he  remained  till 
his  death  on  March  30,  1706,  in  the  forty-ninth  year  of 
his  age.  W.  Wilson  says  of  him  :  "  He  possessed  an 
accurate  judgment,  and  a  considerable  stock  of  useful 
learning,  to  which  he  joined  excellent  talents  for  preach- 
ing and  a  most  lively  and  engaging  conversation.  But 
though  well  qualified  for  ministerial  service,  and  useful 
in  his  day,  he  was  not  popular." 

On  Mr.  Rowe's  removal  Thomas  Valentine  settled 
here,  probably  the  following  year.  He  held  the  pastor- 
ate for  the  unusually  long  term  of  fifty-six  years.  The 
old  meeting  house  was  built  for  him.  During  his 
pastorate  we  have  also  the  name  of  John  Southwell  as 
preaching  to  the  congregation  in  1738.  Probably  he 
was  Mr.  Valentine's  assistant.  Mr.  Valentine  died  on 
March  29,  1756,  in  the  eightieth  year  of  his  age.  The 
inscription  on  his  tomb  in  the  parish  churchyard  says  : 
"  He  was  descended  from  an  ancient  family  in  the 
County  Palatine  of  Lancaster,  was  fifty-six  years 
minister  of  the  Dissenting  Congregation  in  this  place, 
where  it  was  well  known  that  with  great  fidelity  and 
moderation  he  discharged  that  sacred  office." 


The  history  of  this  church  for  many  years  is  exceed- 
ingly obscure.  William  Hoghton  was  minister  in 
1764,  and  continued  till  1771,  when  he  gave  up  the 
ministry  for  the  law. 

William  Sutton  is  mentioned  as  minister  in  1772  ; 
after  that  we  hear  no  more  of  the  old  church — which 
was  reputed  Presbyterian — till  1805,  save  for  a  reference 
in  the  life  of  Thomas  Wilson.  There  we  learn  that  the 
meeting  had  for  many  years  been  attended  by  persons 
of  opulence  and  their  families,  but  that  the  congregation 
became  so  reduced  that  the  doors  had  to  be  closed. 

The  chapel  had  been  closed  for  twenty  years  when 
Mr.  Wilson  made  an  unsuccessful  attempt  to  obtain  it. 
But  a  year  or  two  later,  in  1805,  another  gentleman 
managed  to  secure  it,  and  after  putting  it  in  repair, 
conveyed  it  to  trustees.  It  was  then  reopened  with  a 
sermon  by  Rev.  Geo.  Clayton,  of  Walworth. 

For  some  time  the  church  was  supplied  from  Hoxton 
Academy.  Then  Rev.  John  Atkinson  went  to  live  in 
the  neighbourhood  and  preached  regularly  till  1820, 
when  he  removed  from  the  town. 

After  his  removal  the  building  again  fell  into  decay, 
and  the  roof  became  unsafe.  Then,  by  the  aid  of 
several  friends  who  felt  the  need  of  spiritual  provision 
for  Epsom,  £100  was  raised  for  the  support  of  a 
minister,  and  the  chapel  was  again  repaired.  It  was 
reopened  for  public  worship  on  January  28,  1825. 

For  a  while  Hoxton  Academy  supplied  the  preachers; 
later  in  the  year  John  Harris,  a  student  of  the  Academy, 
accepted  the  pastorate. 

John  Harris  was  born  on  March  8, 1802,  at  Ugborough, 
a  village  of  Devon.  He  was  a  sedate,  thoughtful  child, 
and  this  won  for  him  the  nickname  of  "  Little  Parson 
Harris."     At  the  age  of  thirteen  the  family  removed  to 

EPSOM  45 

Bristol.  His  parents  belonged  to  the  Established 
Church,  and  used  to  attend  the  Cathedral,  but  a  heavy 
shower  one  Sunday  sent  them  into  the  Tabernacle  near 
by.  This  led  to  their  joining  the  society  there,  and 
young  Harris  attending  the  school.  When  fourteen 
years  old  he  composed  a  poem  on  "  The  Perfections  of 
God."  This  brought  him  under  the  notice  of  Mr.  Wills, 
who  had  the  piece  printed  in  a  Bristol  paper.  As  a  boy 
he  preached  for  the  Itinerant  Society  of  that  city,  and 
later  Mr.  Wills  introduced  him  to  the  notice  of  Mr. 
Thomas  Wilson.  After  a  year  of  private  study  he 
entered  Hoxton,  and  after  a  distinguished  career 
accepted  the  invitation  to  Epsom. 

Mr.  Harris  remained  at  Epsom  thirteen  years.  His 
health  was  far  from  good,  but  he  was  able  to  do  a  quiet 
useful  work,  and  at  the  same  time  prepare  himself  for 
the  important  position  he  was  afterwards  to  hold. 

In  1838  he  was  invited  to  become  Theological  Tutor 
and  President  of  Cheshunt  College  ;  and  that  same 
year  his  scholarship  received  recognition  by  a  diploma 
of  D.D.  from  Brown  University,  U.S.A.  In  1848,  he 
suffered  from  partial  blindness,  but  a  winter  in  Italy 
did  much  to  restore  him,  and  he  again  took  up  his 
work  at  Cheshunt.  Two  years  later  when  New  College 
was  formed  by  the  amalgamation  of  Coward,  Highbury 
and  Homerton,  Dr.  Harris  was  chosen  for  the  first 
Principal,  and  held  that  post  till  his  death,  December 

21,  1856. 

On  Dr.  Harris'  removal  from  Epsom,  Rev.  Wm. 
Jackson  was  chosen  pastor.  He  was  born  at  Brixton 
in  18 1 2,  and  entered  Highbury  College  at  the  age  of 
twenty-two.  He  was  ordained  Tuesday,  November  27, 
1838.  Rev.  George  Clayton  took  part  in  the  service, 
and  Dr.  Harris  gave  a  combined  charge  and  farewell 


to  the  Church.  The  charge  to  the  minister  was  given 
by  his  father. 

Mr.  Jackson  remained  till  1842,  when  he  removed  to 
Melksham.  He  afterwards  held  pastorates  at  Bungay 
and  Eltham,  where  he  laboured  till  his  death  in  1856. 
He  is  described  as  a  man  of  high  principle,  and  of 
catholic  spirit,  conscientious  even  in  trifles. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  T.  Lea,  whose  ordination 
took  place  October  31,  1843.  In  1855  a  number  of 
members  who  found  some  difficulty  in  working  with  Mr. 
Lea,  withdrew  from  the  Church,  and  commenced 
services  in  a  large  room  connected  with  the  "  King's 
Head  Hotel."  Soon  after,  a  site  was  obtained  in  the 
"  Parade"  where  a  wooden  structure  was  erected.  The 
first  minister  was  Rev.  Elliott,  who  was  followed 
successively  by  Rev.  J.  Redford,  —  Boardman,  and  C. 

Epsom  was  Mr.  Lea's  only  pastorate.  In  1878,  after 
thirty-five  years'  faithful  service,  he  resigned  under 
medical  advice,  and  gave  himself  to  agricultural  pur- 
suits. He  died  at  Epsom  after  great  suffering,  on 
February  24,  1893. 

After  his  retirement  the  divided  churches,  acting  on 
the  advice  of  the  Surrey  Congregational  Union, 
amalgamated,  when  Rev.  Charles  Harrison  took  the 
oversight  for  about  twelve  months.  The  union  took 
place  on  the  first  Sunday  in  August,  1878. 

The  next  minister,  James  Thorpe,  held  the  pastorate 
for  one  year,  1879—1880.  He  left  Epsom  for  Albion 
Chapel,  Nottingham. 

During  the  pastoral  vacancy,  new  schools,  etc., 
costing  about  £2,800,  were  erected  on  a  freehold  site 
given  by  Mr.  Thomas  Norman.  The  foundation  stones 
were  laid  on  July  27,  1882,  by  Mr.  Evan  Spicer,  Mr. 


Horace  Marshall,  and  Mr.  Norman.  The  building  was 
opened  in  the  early  part  of  the  following  year. 

In  1883,  the  church  called  Rev.  William  Summers  to 
the  vacant  pulpit.  Mr.  Summers  had  been  a  Hackney 
College  student,  and  had  already  done  good  service  at 
Southminster,  Mere,  and  Ringwood.  His  coming  to 
Epsom  was  the  beginning  of  a  general  revival  of 
interest.  For  twenty  years  he  conducted  a  faithful 
ministry,  in  the  course  of  which  he  received  560  per- 
sons into  Church  Fellowship.  During  his  pastorate 
the  old  church  was  remodelled  and  a  new  organ 

In  1905  a  new  and  beautiful  church  was  erected 
upon  the  site  of  the  old  building.  It  cost  £4,000,  and 
is  capable  of  seating  500  persons.  Mr.  Summers 
resigned  his  ministry  in  April,  1906.  Rev.  Henry 
Atkinson,  of  the  Adelphi  Chapel,  Hackney  Road,  has 
recently  settled,  and  commences  his  ministry  with 
every  prospect  of  success. 


back  street,  afterwards  neckinger  road 


Neckinger  Road  Church  and  the  church  which  still 
flourishes  near  the  Tower  Bridge  are  both  branches  of 
a  society  which  originated  in  I7ii,the  history  of  which 
we  proceed  briefly  to  narrate. 

The  earliest  mention  of  Nonconformity  in  Horsley- 
down  is  in  the  list  of  conventicles  prepared  for  Arch- 
bishop Sheldon  in  1669.     Two  are  there  reported  :  one 


in  a  warehouse,  about  ioo  in  number,  the  other  in  a 
house  built  for  the  purpose,  200  or  300  in  number. 

Horsleydown  also  appears  among  the  places  licensed 
under  the  Act  of  Indulgence;  May  2,  1672,  license 
granted  to  Jeremiah  Baines,  Presbyterian.  Of  these 
earlier  meetings  we  have  no  further  record. 

At  the  close  of  the  seventeenth  century,  a  Mr. 
Jacobs,  formerly  of  the  Roytd  Life  Guards,  preached 
in  Parish  Street.  Jacobs  was  an  eccentric  character 
who  strove  to  realise  his  ideal  of  a  perfect  church  in  a 
narrowly  exclusive  fellowship,  with  a  very  rigid  disci- 
pline. This  ere  long  broke  up,  and  many  of  the 
adherents  went  to  a  building  at  Dockhead,  which  had 
been  used  as  a  chapel-of-ease  to  the  parish  church  of 
Bermondsey.  Here,  in  1711,  they  called  as  their 
minister  John  Sladen,  a  man  of  considerable  ability 
and  high  reputation.  The  congregation  so  increased 
that  a  new  meeting  house  was  built  in  Back  Street, 
Horsleydown,  in  1729.  It  was  a  good  brick  building 
of  moderate  size,  with  three  galleries,  and  was  soon 
well  filled.  At  the  same  time  the  church  purchased  a 
piece  of  land  in  Long  Lane  as  a  burying  ground,  "  not 
as  adjoined  to  any  meeting-house  or  place  of  worship, 
but  the  Church  wherever  assembling." 

John  Sladen  was  born  in  London  about  the  year  1687, 
and  educated  at  Jollie's  Academy,  Sheffield.  In  1711 
he  was  ordained  as  pastor  at  Dockhead,  and  soon 
proved  himself  an  able  and  diligent  minister.  Witty 
and  vivacious,  he  was  an  agreeable  companion  ;  indeed 
his  wit  sometimes  exposed  him  to  censure,  though  it 
was  never  employed  on  sacred  things. 

Mr.  Sladen  took  an  active  part,  on  the  orthodox 
side,  in  the  Trinitarian  controversy ;  and  was  one  of 
the  ministers  selected  to  preach  the  lectures  in  Lime 


Street  upon  the  most  important  doctrines  of  the 
Gospel,  his  topic  being  "  Particular  Election."  He 
died  October  19,  1733,  in  the  forty-sixth  year  of  his 
age,  and  was  buried  in  Long  Lane. 

John  Halford,  a  native  of  Northampton,  who  had 
previously  held  pastorates  at  Bishop's  Stortford  and 
Market  Harborough,  followed  him.  He  was  set  apart 
for  the  work  at  Back  Street  on  October  24,  1734,  when 
Dr.  Guyse  preached  the  sermon.  Although  not  trained 
for  the  ministry  he  was  a  man  of  good  natural  talents 
and  a  respectable  amount  of  learning  ;  but  through 
awkwardness  in  his  delivery  his  congregation  and  his 
income  fell  off  in  the  latter  years  of  his  ministry. 
However,  having  some  private  means,  he  retained  the 
pastorate  till  his  death  on  May  22,  1763. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  Joseph  Pitts,  who  had 
been  associated  with  him  as  co-pastor  since  1758.  Mr. 
Pitts  was  born  at  Exeter  in  1702,  and  came  of  a  good 
Nonconformist  family.  His  first  charge  was  at  Hitchin, 
in  Herts,  where  he  was  pastor  nearly  ten  years.  Sub- 
sequently he  ministered  at  Braintree,  Essex,  where  his 
preaching  did  not  prove  acceptable,  and  at  New 
Court,  where  he  assisted  Mr.  Bradbury. 

Mr.  Pitts  remained  at  Back  Street  about  thirteen 
years.  He  is  said  to  have  possessed  but  slender  abili- 
ties, and  not  to  have  been  popular  as  a  preacher.  He 
was  of  economical  habits  and  amassed  considerable 
wealth.  On  his  retirement,  about  1771,  he  removed  to 
Taunton,  in  Somerset,  where  he  died  December  5, 1788, 
aged  86.    The  pastorate  was  vacant  several  years. 

William  Dunn,  the  next  minister,  was  educated 
under  the  Countess  of  Huntingdon's  patronage,  and  for 
some  time  preached  in  her  Connexion.  The  date  of 
his  accepting  the  pastorate  at  Back  Street  is  not  given. 



He  was  not  here  long,  but  retired  in  1785  to  Bradford, 
in  Wilts,  where  he  died  in  May,  1805,  at  the  age  of 
forty-five.  He  was  an  acceptable  preacher,  and 
exemplified  his  preaching  in  his  life  and  conversation. 

John  Batten  succeeded  him  in  1786.  He  is  said  to 
have  been  a  young  man  of  good  abilities,  and  a  sensible 
preacher.     The  date  of  his  removal  is  not  stated. 

From  various  causes  the  pastorate  of  his  successor, 
John  Holmes,  was  not  a  happy  one.  He  resigned  in 
1797,  and  was  followed  by  John  Randall,  who  was 
ordained  May  17,  1798.  His  ministry  at  first  excited 
great  interest,  but  a  reaction  followed,  and  two  years 
later  he  relinquished  the  charge. 

After  these  unsuccessful  pastorates  it  was  rather  an 
experiment  to  offer  the  charge  to  an  old  man  of  seventy- 
five.  That,  however,  was  the  age  of  Henry  Hunt  when 
called  to  the  pulpit  of  Back  Street.  But  his  ministry 
was  crowned  with  success,  and  though  with  advancing 
years  the  interest  somewhat  declined,  he  sustained  his 
position  with  honour  until  his  eighty-eighth  year.  He 
died  June  26,  1815,  at  ninety  years  of  age,  having  been 
sixty  years  a  minister  of  Jesus  Christ. 

John  Bodington,  his  successor,  first  occupied  the 
pulpit  as  co-pastor.  His  history  is  an  interesting  one. 
He  was  born  at  Spitalfields,  January  6,  1794.  His 
parents  were  members  of  an  Arian  congregation  which 
met  at  Salters'  Hall.  When  thirteen  years  old  he 
became  connected  with  the  Church  at  Moorfields 
Tabernacle  under  Rev.  Thos.  Hyatt.  His  father  was 
mucn  incensed,  and  on  a  snowy  night  turned  the  lad 
into  the  streets.  Not  long  after  he  was  again  driven 
into  the  street  for  going  to  an  early  morning  lecture  by 
Dr.  Winter  at  Camomile  Street.  However,  Dr.  Win- 
ter and  Matthew  Wilks  interested  themselves  in  him 


and  introduced  him  to  Mr.  Thomas  Wilson,  through 
whom,  after  preparatory  instruction  by  Mr.  Thornton, 
of  Billericay,  he  entered  Hoxton  Academy. 

He  was  ordained  at  Back  Street  on  October  20, 
1813,  when  less  than  twenty  years  old,  and  on  Mr. 
Hunt's  retirement  became  sole  pastor  of  the  church. 

Mr.  Bodington  was  an  earnest  and  faithful  minister, 
taking  great  interest  in  the  young,  for  whom  he  held  a 
class  in  his  vestry  each  week.  He  had  a  slight  impedi- 
ment in  his  speech,  but  this  did  not  detract  from  his 
usefulness  as  a  preacher. 

For  the  first  seven  years  his  ministry  proceeded 
harmoniously,  but  in  1822  a  difference  arose  between 
the  minister  and  some  of  the  members  of  the  church. 
Mr.  Townsend,  of  Jamaica  Row,  and  Mr.  Hutchins 
were  called  in  to  mediate ;  but  as  the  matter  could  not 
be  arranged  they  advised  an  amicable  separation. 
Accordingly  a  number  of  members  withdrew  and 
formed  a  separate  church. 

Mr.  Bodington  continued  with  the  remnant  in  the 
old  meeting  house  until  the  expiration  of  the  last 
lease  in  1829,  exactly  a  hundred  years  from  the  date  it 
was  first  occupied  by  the  church.  Then  they  purchased 
a  smaller  chapel  in  Neckinger  Road,  Bermondsey, 
which  had  been  built  for  a  young  minister  who  preached 
in  it  only  for  a  short  time.  Galleries  were  added  and 
other  improvements  made,  and  the  building  was  re- 
opened for  worship  on  October  7,  1829.  Dr.  Fletcher, 
of  Stepney,  preached  in  the  morning,  and  Rev.  George 
Clayton,  of  Walworth,  in  the  evening. 

Here  Mr.  Bodington  ministered  for  nearly  thirty 
years,  until,  on  December  26,  1858,  the  infirmities  of 
age  compelled  him  to  lay  down  his  beloved  charge. 
He  did  not  long  survive  his  retirement.     On  October 

e  2 


21,  1859,  after  a  few  days'  illness,  he  passed  to  his 

He  was  followed  by  Rev.  G.  H.  White,  who  had 
previously  laboured  in  the  Wesleyan  ministry.  At  first 
the  work  was  very  successful,  but  the  improvement  did 
not  last.  Dr.  Waddington  says  the  growth  of  the 
Church  proved  too  rapid  for  its  constitution,  and  trials 
arose,  by  reason  of  which  Mr.  White  withdrew  in  1863. 
He  subsequently  exercised  an  honourable  and  useful 
ministry  in  several  places.  His  latest  charge  was  at 
Longham,  near  Bournemouth,  where  he  acted  as 
assistant  minister  to  Rev.  J.  Ossian  Davies,  and  after- 
wards to  Rev.  J.  D.  Jones.  He  now  lives  in  well- 
earned  retirement  at  Longfleet,  Poole. 

The  same  experience  seems  to  have  been  repeated 
under  the  next  minister,  Rev.  Robert  H.  Craig.  Con- 
siderable progress  was  made  for  a  while,  a  testimonial 
was  presented  to  the  pastor,  and  even  the  idea  of  a 
new  church  was  entertained.  But  "  consolidation  and 
stability  were  wanting,  and  Mr.  Craig  relinquished  his 
post  in  a  few  months." 

Rev.  W.  D.  Corken  held  the  charge  from  1866  to 
1868,  and  H.  Pepper  from  1873—4.  But  the  demon  of 
discord  was  busy,  which  brought  the  place  into  such 
disrepute  that  with  difficulty  the  incidental  expenses 
were  met.  The  Baptist  element,  which  had  now 
assumed  large  proportions,  made  overtures  to  the 
trustees  to  accept  a  Baptist  minister  and  to  change  the 
name  to  the  Congregational-Baptist  Chapel,  Ber- 
mondsey.  Correspondence  ensued  between  the  London 
Congregational  Union,  the  Rev.  C.  H.  Spurgeon,  and  the 
Baptist  Association  ;  who  practically  admitted  the  right 
of  the  Congregationalists  to  the  property.  A  conference 
was   held  with   Dr.  Clifford  and  Rev.  J.  T.  Wigner. 


Eventually  it  was  decided  that  the  Baptists  should 
retain  the  use  of  the  property  and  pay  a  nominal  rental 
of  5s.  a  year  to  the  London  Union. 


(I7II — 1822) 

The  early  history  of  this  church  is  that  of  Back 
Street ;  from  which  an  amicable  separation  was  arranged, 
as  before  narrated,  in  1822. 

On  Thursday,  December  5  of  that  year,  the  seceding 
members  held  a  meeting  in  the  Dockhead  Sunday 
Schoolroom,  for  the  purpose  of  constituting  a  new 
church.  A  president,  two  secretaries,  and  a  committee 
were  appointed,  and  the  Union  Chapel  Building  Fund 
started.  A  sub-committee  was  also  appointed  to  secure 
a  site  for  a  place  of  worship. 

Services  were  commenced  on  the  following  Sabbath 
at  41,  Crucifix  Lane.  A  prayer  meeting  was  held  in 
the  morning,  and  as  there  was  no  preacher,  one  of  the 
members  read  a  sermon  in  the  evening  from  Luke  xv.  2. 
Worship  was  continued  here  for  some  time,  and  after- 
wards in  the  British  School,  White's  Grounds,  where 
the  church  was  organised.  Active  steps  were  now  taken 
to  erect  a  permanent  building.  The  foundation  stone 
was  laid  July,  1823,  by  Mr.  Joseph  Irons,  Camberwell, 
and  on  November  14  of  the  same  year,  a  Chapel  to 
seat  900  persons  was  opened.  Revs.  Griffith  Williams, 
S.  Curwen,  Denton,  Seaton,  Popplewell,  Dr.  Styles,  and 
G.  C.  Smith  took  part. 

Three  years  passed  before  any  attempt  was  made  to 


find  a  pastor.     William  Deering  was  the  first  minister. 
He  held  the  charge  till  February  22,  1830. 

James  Cooper  followed  him.  He  was  born  at 
Walsall,  January  1,  1782,  and  trained  at  Rotherham 
College.  In  1807  he  accepted  a  call  to  Wirksworth, 
Derbyshire ;  but  the  following  year  removed  to  West 
Bromwich,  where  he  laboured  for  twenty  years.  After 
a  period  of  rest  in  Norwich,  he  accepted  an  invitation 
to  Horsleydown  and  was  publicly  recognised  on  May  3, 
1833.  The  following  year,  for  some  cause,  he  resigned, 
much  against  the  wish  of  the  majority  of  the  people. 
He  subsequently  held  pastorates  at  Middlewich  and 
Heacham,  in  Norfolk,  and  died  May  27,  1863. 

John  Young  was  the  next  minister.  He  was  invited 
on  January  28,  1835.  His  stay,  too,  was  short,  for  we 
read  that  after  a  year  of  great  depression,  both  to 
minister  and  people,  their  mutual  relation  was  dissolved 
on  January  6,  1836. 

But  better  times  were  at  hand.  In  May,  1836, 
Rev.  John  Adey  succeeded  to  the  vacant  pulpit. 
Mr.  Adey  was  a  native  of  Painswick,  Gloucestershire, 
where  he  was  born  May  15,  1793.  He  was  one  of  the 
earliest  Sunday  school  workers,  and  with  a  few  other 
young  men,  amid  great  difficulties,  commenced  the  first 
voluntary  (i.e.,  unpaid)  Sunday  school  in  the  city  of 
Gloucester.  Later  he  removed  to  Winslow,  and  again 
founded  a  Sunday  school  in  the  neighbouring  village  of 
Great  Horwood. 

Having  given  up  business  and  prepared  for  the 
ministry  under  Dr.  Harris,  of  Kingston,  he  was  ordained 
at  Great  Horwood  in  1820,  and  subsequently  held 
pastorates  at  Cranbrook  and  Ramsgate. 

At  Horsleydown  he  soon  gathered  a  large  congrega- 
tion.    In  his  preaching  he  was  fond  of  peculiar  subjects, 


which  drew  many  hearers  out  of  curiosity.  He  attracted 
much  attention  at  one  time  by  preaching  to  different 
trades.  To  hatters  from  Daniel  iii.  21,  "  their  hats  '  ; 
to  tanners  from  "one  Simon,  a  tanner."  On  the  death 
by  accident  of  a  carman  in  his  congregation,  he  dis- 
coursed on  "  O  wheel."  But  his  ministry  was  greatly 
blessed,  hundreds  were  brought  into  the  church,  and 
many  young  men  introduced  to  the  ministry. 

One  useful  work  was  to  establish  a  Sunday  school  in 
direct  connection  with  the  church,  in  place  of  one 
under  the  control  of  the  Southwark  Sunday  School 
Society,  of  Surrey  Chapel.  Mr.  Adey  rented  a  room, 
and  opened  it  in  March,  1838.  Later  the  freehold  was 
purchased,  and  in  1843  a  new  school  was  built  behind 
the  Church,  which,  however,  left  a  considerable  debt. 

This  and  the  exodus  of  many  influential  families  to 
the  suburbs  so  increased  the  difficulties  of  the  Church 
that  Mr.  Adey  felt  he  had  not  strength  to  grapple  with 
the  situation.  After  twenty-two  years  of  devoted  ser- 
vice, he  resigned  on  January  31,  1858,  and  accepted  an 
invitation  to  Bexley  Heath,  where  he  laboured  success- 
fully for  ten  years  longer ;  and  after  a  short  retirement, 
died  on  December  16,  1869. 

On  June  14,  1858,  Rev.  John  Hopkins  was  invited  to 
the  pastorate.  He,  however,  only  held  the  charge  for 
one  year,  and  resigned  July  1,  1859. 

Rev.  James  Frame,  of  the  Evangelical  Union, 
succeeded  him  July  15,  i860.  His  first  effort  was  to 
remove  the  debt,  and  with  the  help  of  Mr.  C.  Curling, 
the  London  Chapel  Building  Society,  and  some  other 
friends,  the  £800  was  entirely  swept  away.  On 
December  10  of  the  year  in  which  Mr.  Frame  entered 
his  pastorate,  a  public  meeting  was  held  to  celebrate 
the  extinction  of  the  debt.     Mr.  Frame  was  the  author 


of  several  theological  works.     He  continued  in  the  pas- 
torate till  1868,  when  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Erith. 

The  next  minister  at  Union  Chapel  is  one  whose 
gifts  in  preaching  and  especially  lecturing,  whose 
gracious  wit  and  general  ability  demand  more  than 
a  passing  notice.  John  De  Kewer  Williams  was  a 
Hackney  man,  born  in  1817.  His  father  was  a  pros- 
perous estate  agent  and  a  member  of  the  Common 
Council  of  London. 

Originally  intended  for  the  profession  of  medicine,  he 
soon  discovered  his  gifts  lay  in  other  directions.  On 
one  early  occasion  he  is  said  so  to  have  impressed  a 
member  of  his  audience  by  his  address,  that  the  good 
man  prayed,  "  Lord,  thou  hast  opened  the  mouth  of 
this  young  brother,  may  it  never  be  shut  again."  That 
prayer  was  answered  ;  it  never  was  shut,  but  continued 
to  speak  for  the  glory  of  God  and  the  delight  and  help 
of  man  for  many  a  long  year.  After  spending  some 
time  in  preparation  at  the  house  of  Rev.  John  Dukes, 
of  Yeovil,  Mr.  Williams  went  to  Highbury  College, 
where  he  had  for  fellow-students  Newman  Hall  and 
J.  Baldwin  Brown.  His  first  charge  was  at  Limerick, 
where  he  did  some  good  work,  especially  amongst  )'oung 
men.  He  said  "it  made  him  a  young  man's  man." 
From  his  class  there  went  into  the  ministry  some  half- 
dozen  men,  amongst  others,  Alexander  Murray  and 
Julius  Benn,  father  of  Sir  J.  Williams  Benn,  M.P. 

In  1848  he  removed  to  Tottenham,  where  he  did 
good  service  for  ten  years.  After  leaving  Tottenham, 
he  tried  to  establish,  at  the  Marylebone  Institution,  a 
new  cause,  "  in  which  there  would  be  no  Order  of 
Service,  but  ever  varied  Services,  and  the  devotions 
would  be  as  thoughtful  and  interesting  as  the  medita- 
tions."    About  this  time  he  became  widely  known  as  a 

Rev.  Johx   De   Kewer  Williams,  Horsleydown  and 

H  \('KNEY. 


lecturer.  He  worked  also  at  Brentford  and  Camberwell, 
and  would  have  built  a  chapel  at  the  latter  place  had 
not  the  Chapel  Building  Society  disapproved.  In 
1868  he  went  to  Horsleydown.  One  of  the  deacons 
suggested  that  as  he  could  not  build  up  a  new  cause, 
he  might  try  and  revive  an  old  one.  Here  he  laboured 
for  six  years,  till  he  went  to  Old  Gravel  Pit  Church, 
Hackney,  where  perhaps  the  best  work  of  his  life  was 

In  1874  Rev.  Arthur  Wickson,  M.A.,  LL.D.,  accepted 
the  pastorate.  Dr.  Wickson  had  been  Tutor  and 
Registrar  of  the  University  College,  Toronto.  He 
remained  at  Horsleydown  till  1877,  when  he  accepted 
the  secretaryship  of  the  Christian  Instruction  Society. 
He  now  lives  retired  at  Maida  Vale. 

In  1878  we  find  the  pulpit  occupied  by  Richard 
Winch,  a  Wesleyan. 

He  was  followed  by  Rev.  James  Samuel  Tamatoa 
Williams  Smith.  His  name  explains  itself.  His  father 
was  a  colleague  of  John  Williams,  and  in  the  house  of 
that  martyred  servant  of  God,  at  Raiatea,  young  Smith 
was  born,  June  11,  1831.  He  came  to  England  when 
a  youth  and  settled  at  Hexham,  where  he  became  the 
close  friend  of  a  lad  destined  to  occupy  the  foremost 
place  amongst  English  preachers,  Joseph  Parker. 
Mr.  Smith  began  life  as  a  chemist,  and  was  one  of  the 
founders  of  the  Pharmaceutical  Society.  He  attended 
classes  at  Nottingham  Institute,  and  in  1874  succeeded 
his  father  in  the  pastorate  of  Haydon  Bridge.  After  a 
short  ministry  at  Wardour  Street,  Soho,  he  removed  in 
1880  to  Horsleydown,  where  he  laboured  seven  years, 
resigning  at  last  through  ill  health.  He  died  at  the 
residence  of  his  son  September  5,  1902. 

Rev.    G.    Ernest    Thorn,    from    Hackney    College, 


followed   in    1888,  and   remained   till    1892,  when   he 
removed  to  Lower  Edmonton.     He  was  succeeded  by 
Rev.  W.  A.  Linnington,  who  had  held  several  country 
pastorates  during  the  preceding  twenty-four  years,  and 
ministered  at  Horsleydown  from  1892  to  1902.     The 
site  of  the  chapel  being  required  by  the  South  Eastern 
Railway  Company,  it  was  sold  to  them  in   1897,  the 
price  awarded  for  compulsory  acquisition  being  £10,500. 
For   some   time   services  were   held   in  various  halls, 
temporarily  hired  for  the  purpose ;    but   an    excellent 
freehold  site  for  a  new  church  was  secured  near  the 
Tower  Bridge.     The  church  was  opened  in  June,  1902, 
with  a  sermon  by  Rev.  C.  S.  Home ;  Dr.  Horton  and 
others  taking   part    in    the   dedicatory  services.     The 
building  provides  accommodation  for  625  hearers,  and 
the  school  premises  for  500  children.     The  whole  cost 
was  defrayed,  except  a  small  debt  of  £50. 

Mr.  Linnington  retired  about  this  time,  and  is  living 
at  Tunbridge  Wells. 

The  first  (and  present)  minister  of  the  new  church  is 
Rev.  John  Jameson,  who  had  held  the  pastorate  of 
Arundel  Square  Church,  Barnsbury,  for  six  years,  and 
afterwards  laboured  five  years  as  a  mission  preacher  in 
Yorkshire.  He  entered  on  the  charge  in  1904,  and  in 
less  than  two  years  had  not  only  cleared  the  debt,  but 
built  a  new  organ  at  a  cost  of  £350,  and  made  other 
improvements.  The  building  is  now  entirely  free  from 



collier's    rents 


Collier's  Rents,  formerly  called  Angel  Alley  and 
Bridewell  Alley,  is  a  narrow  passage  behind  St.  George's 
Church,  winding  its  way  from  High  Street,  Borough, 
to  White  Street.  There,  in  1726,  a  wooden  meeting 
house  was  erected  for  a  mixed  congregation  of  Inde- 
pendents and  Baptists.  On  December  26  of  that 
year  thirty-four  persons  signed  a  Church  Covenant 
embodying  certain  articles  of  faith,  and  installed  Rev. 
Clendon  Dawkes  as  their  pastor.  He  remained  four 
years,  and  was  followed  on  March  4,  1731,  by  Rev. 
John  Phillips.  He,  however,  left  them  in  May  of  the 
following  year  in  consequence  of  having  adopted  more 
rigid  views  as  to  "  believers'  baptism."  The  next 
minister,  Rev.  Daniel  Stevens,  was  invited  on  Feb- 
ruary 11,  1733,  and  remained  about  ten  years.  The 
church  was  then,  or  soon  afterwards,  in  a  very  depres- 
sed condition  ;  but  a  pleasing  change  took  place  under 
the  ministry  of  Rev.  John  Rogers,  said  to  have  been 
a  descendant  of  the  martyr  of  the  same  name.  He 
entered  on  the  pastorate  on  January  30,  1745,  and 
continued  nearly  forty-six  years. 

In  1762  Mr.  Dorset,  a  benevolent  but  eccentric 
worshipper  in  one  of  the  city  congregations,  bequeathed 
stock  of  the  nominal  value  of  £9,000  to  nine  Congrega- 
tional churches,  of  which  Collier's  Rents  was  one. 
The  terms  of  the  bequest  were  that  the  nine  churches 
should  share  equally  the  dividends,  the  portion  of 
each  being  assigned  half  to  the  minister  and  half  to 


the  poor.  A  church  would  retain  its  endowment  not- 
withstanding removal ;  but  if  any  church  should  be 
dissolved,    its   portion    should    be   shared   among  the 


In  1776  the  Bridge  House  Company  having  renewed 
the  lease  for  sixty  years,  the  wooden  meeting  house 
was  pulled  down  and  a  brick  edifice  erected  on  the 
site.  Mrs.  Mary  Haddon  laid  the  foundation  of  both 
buildings.     Mr.  Rogers  died  on  September  2,  1790. 

In  1791  Rev.  James  Knight  was  called  to  the 
pastorate  and  ordained  on  June  29.  He  was  the  son 
of  Titus  Knight,  the  friend  of  Whitefield,  and  first 
Congregational  minister  at  Halifax.  He  was  a  man 
of  extensive  learning,  and  in  the  earlier  years  of  his 
ministry  supplemented  his  income  by  keeping  a  select 
school  at  Walworth,  where  Rev.  George  Clayton  was 
one  of  his  first  pupils.  In  1800  he  was  invited  to  the 
divinity  chair  at  Homerton  College,  which,  however, 
he  only  occupied  about  two  years.  He  ministered 
with  acceptance  at  Collier's  Rents  till  1833,  when 
failing  health  compelled  him  to  retire.  He  died  at 
Clapham  on  September  24,  1851,  aged  eighty-two. 

Rev.  R.  T.  Hunt,  a  Hoxton  student,  late  of  Kenning- 
ton  Chapel,  was  pastor  from  1835  to  1840.  He  com- 
piled a  hymn  book,  which  was  used  in  both  congrega- 
tions and  contained  some  original  hymns  of  respect- 
able merit.  He  died  at  Camberwell  in  1861,  aged 

After  Mr.  Hunt's  retirement  the  church  seems  to 
have  been  greatly  depressed.  Dr.  Waddington  gives 
no  details,  but  hints  that  the  case  was  a  frightful 
example  of  the  evil  of  endowments,  of  which  he — like 
several  of  his  prominent  contemporaries,  disapproved. 
However  the  church  was  almost  extinct   when    Rev. 


Robert  Littler  took  charge  in  1845.  He  was  born 
at  Holywell,  February  7,  1796,  trained  at  Hoxton 
College,  and  had  ministered  successively  at  Darwen 
and  Matlock  Bank.  He  is  said  to  have  done  valuable 
work  at  Collier's  Rents,  but  owing  probably  to  local 
conditions  the  congregation  did  not  greatly  improve. 
He  resigned  in  1849. 

The  next  pastor  was  Rev.  T.  K.  de  Verdon,  M.A., 
of  Trinity  College,  Dublin.  He  had  formerly  minis- 
tered at  Clare,  Sudbury,  and  Eltham.  He  was  at 
Collier's  Rents  from  1850  to  1854,  when  domestic 
affliction  rendered  change  desirable,  and  he  volun- 
teered as  a  missionary  in  Turkey  during  the  Crimean 
War.  After  his  return  he  assisted  Rev.  Newman  Hall 
at  Surrey  Chapel  for  about  a  year ;  and  closed  his 
ministry  at  Nayland,  Suffolk.  He  died  at  Berkhamp- 
stead  June  25,  1882,  aged  eighty-two. 

After  Mr.  de  Verdon's  removal  the  record  of  Collier's 
Rents  is  blank  for  1855  and  1856.  The  lease  expired, 
and  the  building  having  been  sold  to  the  incumbent 
of  St.  George's  was  used  as  a  chapel-of-ease  or  perhaps 
a  mission  chapel.  In  1857  Mr.  Littler  resumed  the 
pastorate,  the  congregation  having  now  removed  to 
a  chapel  (formerly  Baptist)  in  Cole  Street,  near  Horse- 
monger  Lane  Gaol.  There  Mr.  Littler  continued  to 
minister  till  his  death,  which  occurred  on  October  27, 
1870,  in  his  seventy-fifth  year. 

During  1871  and  1872  Cole  Street  is  reported 
"  supplied."  In  1873  one  T.  R.  Smithson — of  whom 
we  have  no  further  knowledge  —  is  mentioned  as 
minister.  For  the  next  three  years  the  report  is 
again  "  supplied."  Then  in  1877  Rev.  G.  Littlemore, 
from  Curry  Rivel,  Somerset,  a  Cotton  End  student, 
became  pastor.     The  church  about  this  time  removed 


from  Cole   Street  to  93,  New   Kent   Road.      In   1879 
Mr.  Littlemore  resigned  and  went  to  Sydenham.     The 
following   year   the  pulpit  was    reported   vacant,   and 
in   1881   the  case  was  taken  in  hand   by  Rev.  J.  H. 
Wilson,  D.D.,  the  energetic  Secretary  of  the    Home 
Missionary    Society.      It   was    his    earnest    desire    to 
provide  a  permanent  home  where  the  decayed  church 
might   renew  its   youth,  and  he  acquired  an  eligible 
site  in  Gurney  Street,  New  Kent  Road,  where  a  com- 
modious  school-chapel  was  built,  with   provision   for 
extension  in  the  future.     Here  in  1890  to    1891    Dr. 
Wilson  was   assisted   for  a   few  months   by  Rev.  W. 
Davidson,    from    Fordham,    Essex,    who    afterwards 
removed   to    Scunthorpe,    Lincolnshire.      Dr.   Wilson 
retired  in   1892,  and  it  was  his  wish  that  the  church 
should  then  unite   with   the    Borough    Road    Mission 
under    Rev.    W.    Mottram,    they   being   at    that   time 
under   the    necessity  of  finding   new  accommodation. 
But   a   portion  of  the  church  would  not  assent,  and 
chose   as   their   pastor   a  Mr.  Fairbairn,  described  as 
a  Baptist  lay  preacher.     In  a  few  months  it  was  found 
impracticable  to  meet  the  charges  on  the  new  building 
in  addition  to  current   expenses,  and  a  division  took 
place.     Some  united  with  Mr.  Mottram's  people,  who 
in  1894  took  possession  of  the  building,  now  named 
the  "  Murphy  Memorial  Hall;"  the  rest,  with  Mr.  Fair- 
bairn,  removed  to  a  house,   15,  Great  Dover  Street. 
These  endeavoured  to  make  good  their  claim  to  the 
Dorset    Endowment,    but   were   disqualified,    it   being 
adjudged  that  the   original  church  was   actually  dis- 
solved.    The  endowment,  therefore,  fell  to  be  shared 
by    the    other    beneficiaries,    and     the    company    at 
15,  Great  Dover  Street  soon  dispersed. 

The   building   in    Collier's    Rents   was   acquired   in 


1893  by  the  London  Congregational  Union  as  the 
headquarters  of  their  philanthropic  work  in  the  district. 
It  has  ever  since  been  a  centre  of  active  beneficence 
and  is  now  being  rebuilt  with  a  view  to  more  abundant 



In  the  year  1780,  when  Camberwell  was  a  village 
outside  London,  the  Rev.  W.  Smith,  M.A.,  a  Presby- 
terian minister,  came  to  live  in  a  house  known  as  the 
Mansion  House,  and  opened  an  academy  for  young 
men.  As  he  was  some  distance  from  the  nearest  dis- 
senting place  of  worship,  he  resolved  to  erect  a  chapel 
in  his  own  garden.  With  the  assistance  of  some 
friends  this  was  done,  and  Mr.  Smith  preached  there 
till  his  removal  in  1799. 

After  Mr.  Smith  left  a  church  was  formed,  and  the 
Rev.  Wm.  Berry,  of  Warminster,  elected  the  first 
pastor.  He  resigned  from  ill  health  in  1812,  and  the 
Rev.  John  Boutet  Innes,  of  Trowbridge,  succeeded 
him.  During  Mr.  Innes'  pastorate  the  chapel  was 
enlarged.  It  was  reopened  Thursday,  December  12, 
1816,  the  preachers  being  Rev.  W.  Jay,  of  Bath,  and 
Rev.  Dr.  Waugh. 

Mr.  Innes  removed  to  Weymouth  in  1824.  He 
remained  there  two  years  and  then  settled  at  Norwich, 
where  he  died  in  1837  at  the  age  of  fifty-four. 

Rev.  Wm.  Orme,  of  Perth,  was  the  next  minister. 
He    was    a    man    of    great   power,    an   accomplished 


scholar,  an  eloquent  preacher,  and  a  writer  of  no  mean 
repute.  His  biographical  works  are  still  held  in  high 
esteem.  During  his  pastorate  at  Camberwell  he  also 
served  as  Secretary  of  the  London  Missionary  Society. 

Mr.  Orme  died,  universally  regretted,  on  May  8, 
1830,  and  was  succeeded  by  a  man  of  no  less  ability 
and  force  of  character — John  Burnet. 

This  eminent  minister  was  born  at  Perth,  April  13, 
1789.  We  are  told  that  as  a  boy  he  was  remarkable 
for  physical  energy,  great  independence  of  character, 
and  thirst  for  knowledge.  He  was  educated  at  the 
Perth  Academy,  and  afterwards  at  the  Edinburgh  High 
School.  In  his  early  days  he  attended  the  ministry  of 
Mr.  Orme,  at  Perth.  When  a  young  man  he  enlisted 
as  a  soldier  and  served  for  some  time,  but  after  a  while 
took  his  discharge  and  offered  his  services  to  the  Irish 
Evangelical  Society.  His  first  pastorate  was  Cork. 
About  this  a  curious  tale  is  told.  The  Society  had 
arranged  for  Burnet  to  go  to  Limerick,  and  another 
young  minister  to  go  to  Cork.  But  Burnet's  place  was 
taken  by  mistake  in  the  Cork  coach,  and  the  other 
man's  in  the  Limerick  conveyance.  They  agreed  to 
abide  by  their  mistake,  and  the  young  Scotchman's 
services  proved  so  acceptable  that  he  was  invited  to 
settle  in  Cork.  He  remained  there  until  his  removal 
to  London,  fifteen  years  later.  On  September  12,  1830, 
he  commenced  his  ministry  at  Camberwell. 

Mr.  Burnet  was  a  strong  politician  and  social 
reformer.  During  his  early  ministry  in  Cork  he  gave 
evidence  on  the  state  of  Ireland  before  a  Committee  of 
the  House  of  Lords.  He  took  part  in  the  struggle  for 
the  abolition  of  colonial  slavery,  and  worked  hard  in 
the  cause  of  popular  education  and  religious  liberty. 
It   was   said   that   if  there   was   a   deputation  to   the 

*~~^,w^  >^_y  .: 

Rev.  John   Burnet,  Camberwell. 


Government  on  any  grievance,  John  Burnet  was  sure 
not  only  to  be  a  member  but  to  be  the  spokesman. 
The  Peace  Society  found  in  him  a  warm  friend,  and 
indeed  any  organisation  that  had  for  its  object  the 
removal  of  privilege  and  abuse,  the  spread  of  freedom, 
and  the  advocacy  of  great  principles  was  sure  of  the 
support  of  the  popular  minister  of  Camberwell  Green. 
Few  men  have  been  so  richly  and  variously  gifted  as 
John  Burnet.  He  was  a  powerful  speaker,  of  com- 
manding presence  and  genial  disposition.  He  could 
tell  a  good  story,  debate,  speak,  or  preach  equally  well. 
Although  his  public  services  made  great  demands  on 
his  time,  his  work  at  Camberwell  was  not  neglected. 
He  was  a  diligent  student  of  the  word  of  God.  Wad- 
dington  says,  "  He  delighted  in  continuous  exposition, 
and  it  was  his  happiness  to  have  a  congregation  follow 
him  through  the  entire  field  of  revelation.  He  met  the 
congregation  periodically  in  private  circles  for  free  and 
earnest  discussion,  and  they  found  in  his  mind  a  shrine 
of  perpetual  illumination." 

After  Mr.  Burnet  had  been  twenty-two  years  at 
Camberwell  it  was  resolved  to  build  a  new  church. 
The  first  stone  was  laid  on  December  15,  1852.  Mr. 
Burnet  left  the  entire  arrangements  with  his  people, 
who  raised  £8,000  for  the  work. 

On  attaining  his  twenty-fifth  anniversary,  in  1855, 
the  congregation  presented  him  with  a  purse  of  £500. 
Six  years  later  Rev.  John  Pillans,  of  Perth,  was  invited 
to  become  co-pastor  with  Mr.  Burnet.  The  recognition 
service  was  held  on  Friday,  February  22,  1861. 

The  aged  minister  did  not  live  long  afterwards.     He 

preached  his  last  sermon  on  his  seventy-third  birthday, 

rom  Psalm  viii.,  3  and  4,  and  died  June   10,  1862,  in 

the   seventy-fourth  year  of  his  age.     He  was   buried 



in     Norwood    Cemetery   amid    widespread    tokens    of 

Mr.  Pillans  continued  pastor  of  the  church  till  1873, 
when  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Huntly.  He  was  suc- 
ceeded by  Rev.  Clement  Clemance,  B.A.,  D.D.,  who  for 
fifteen  years  had  maintained  an  influential  ministry  at 
Castle  Gate,  Nottingham.  Soon  after  Dr.  Clemance's 
settlement  a  scheme  was  set  on  foot  to  erect  new  schools. 
The  site  and  a  donation  of  £100  was  presented  by  Mr.  G. 
Whitley,  and  the  treasurer  of  the  fund,  Mr.  G.  Keen, 
gave  the  handsome  donation  of  £1,000.  The  memorial 
stones  were  laid  on  October  6,  1877,  by  Mr.  Whitley, 
and  the  building  was  opened  on  the  following  April. 

Mr.  Keen  again  showed  his  great  interest  in  the 
church  by  the  gift  of  an  organ  in  1SS0.  At  the  same 
time  some  alterations  were  made  in  the  building  during 
which  services  were  held  in  the  Lecture  Hall.  The 
reopening  took   place  on  Thursday,  September  1,  1880. 

After  a  pastorate  of  nearly  fifteen  years,  Dr.  Clemance 
resigned  his  charge  through  ill  health.  At  the  farewell 
service  he  was  presented  with  an  illuminated  address 
and  cheque  for  £456.  He  did  not  seek  another  charge 
but  lived  retired  at  Croydon  and  Stamford  Hill  till  his 
death  in  1895. 

The  Church  then  gave  an  invitation  to  Rev.  Thomas 
Hooper  of  Kingsland.  Mr.  Hooper,  like  his  predecessor, 
was  a  student  of  the  Western  College.  His  first  settle- 
ment was  at  Princess  Street,  Devonport,  where  he 
ministered  from  1877  to  1886.  During  the  interval 
after  Dr.  Clemance's  resignation  the  Church  was 
renovated,  and  reopened  with  the  commencement  of 
Mr.  Hooper's  ministry  on  April  13,  1890. 

In  1898  Mr.  Hooper  was  called  to  the  important 
pastorate  of  Albion  Chapel,  Ashton-under-Lyne.     After 

Rev.  Clement  Clemance,  D.D.,  Camberwell 


an  interval  of  eighteen  months  the  church  invited 
Rev.  Thomas  Stephens,  B.A.,  of  Wellingborough.  Mr. 
Stephens  was  educated  at  Brecon,  and  St.  John's  College, 

His  first  pastorate  was  at  Ross  ;  then  from  1885  to 
1889  he  ministered  at  Argyle  Chapel,  Bath;  for  the  next 
eleven  years  he  exercised  a  ministry  at  Wellingborough 
that  secured  for  him  a  high  reputation  throughout  the 
churches.  He  commenced  his  ministry  at  Camberwell 
in  May,  1900,  and  under  his  effective  guidance  the 
church  fully  maintains  its  reputation  as  a  centre  of 
beneficent  Christian  activity. 

In  1882  it  became  possible  to  acquire  the  freehold  of 
a  mission  room  in  Waterloo  Street,  which  had  pre- 
viously been  held  on  lease.  The  purchase  price  was 
£600,  and  an  additional  expenditure  of  £1,750  provided 
a  large  hall  with  infants'  room,  four  other  class  rooms 
and  rooms  for  a  working  men's  club  and  other  meetings. 
The  new  premises  were  opened  in  1886,  and  arc  now  a 
centre  of  active  Christian  work,  comprising  mission 
services,  temperance  organisations,  a  social  guild,  and 
a  Sunday  school  of  450  children. 



According  to  Dr.  Waddington  this  church  traces  its 
origin  to  a  prayer  meeting  in  the  house  of  a  Mrs. 
Arnold.  Some  of  those  who  took  part  in  that  meeting- 
resolved  to  build  a  chapel  and  to  found  a  fellowship 

F  2 


on  Congregational  lines.  According  to  the  Church 
Book,  Richard  Hollert  of  Denmark  Hill,  John  Leathly 
of  Dover  Place,  Kent  Road,  John  Flint,  Richard  Smales, 
and  Thomas  Powis  of  Walworth,  erected  what  was  at 
first  called  Lock's  Field  Meeting  House,  which  was 
begun  in  September,  1789,  and  opened  June  13,  1790. 
The  building  of  the  chapel  was  superintended  free  of 
expense  by  Mr.  Flint,  who  also  executed  much  of  the 
work  at  cost  price,  the  other  gentlemen  defraying  the 
remaining  expense  of  the  building. 

Preaching  was  carried  on  for  two  years  and  a  half  by 
various  ministers ;  and  the  Church  was  formed  on 
April  14,  1793,  when  the  Lord's  Supper  was  adminis- 
tered to  the  newly  constituted  members  by  Rev.  James 

The  first  pastor  was  Philip  Mills.  He  was  ordained 
May  29,  1793,  and  held  the  pastorate  till  his  death, 
January  12,  1796. 

Rev.  George  Burden  of  Coventry  declined  an  invita- 
tion to  succeed  him  ;  and  for  nearly  four  years  the 
church  was  without  a  minister,  till  Edmund  Denham 
was  ordained  October  23,  1799.  His  pastorate,  too, 
was  very  brief.  He  died  November  12,  1800,  and  was 
buried  in  the  ground  adjoining  the  chapel,  where  his 
predecessor  also  rests. 

For  almost  four  years  longer  the  church  was  without 
a  pastor,  and  then  one  was  called  to  the  pulpit  whose 
name  will  ever  be  inseparably  connected  with  Walworth. 
George  Clayton,  son  of  the  well-known  minister  of  the 
Weigh  House  Chapel,  was  born  in  London,  1783.  It 
is  said  that  John  Wesley  put  his  hand  on  his  head  and 
his  brother's,  and  gave  them  the  blessing  of  Jacob, 
"  The  Angel  which  redeemed  me  from  all  evil  bless  the 
lads."     When  quite  a  youth  he  commenced  his  study 

Rev.  George  Clayton,  Walworth. 


for  the  ministry  under  Dr.  Valpy  of  Reading,  and 
subsequently  entered  Hoxton  Academy.  In  1802  he 
went  to  Southampton,  where  he  remained  two  years. 
Efforts  were  made  to  get  him  to  Camden  Town,  but 
without  success ;  and  in  1804,  when  not  twenty-one 
years  of  age,  he  became  minister  at  Walworth. 

Among  the  baptisms  recorded  in  the  Chapel  Register 
in  the  year  1812  is  that  of  Robert  Browning;  who 
here  through  his  boyhood  and  youth  listened  Sunday 
after  Sunday  to  lessons  in  heavenly  things,  which 
helped  to  train  one  of  the  greatest  poets  and  spiritual 
teachers  of  the  age. 

George  Clayton  was  pre-eminently  a  divine  of  the 
old  school.  Perhaps  the  picture  that  his  successor, 
Rev.  P.  J.  Turquand,  has  drawn  of  him  will  best 
describe  the  man. 

"  It  was  his  practice  on  a  Sabbath  morning  to  walk 
from  his  residence  in  Manor  Place  to  the  chapel  in 
York  St.,  arrayed  in  his  pulpit  robes  .  .  .  wearing 
lavender  kid  gloves.  He  treated  each  woman,  what- 
ever her  status,  as  a  lady,  and  every  man  as  a  gentle- 
man ...  He  loved  children  dearly.  Baptisms  were 
great  occasions.  One  day  holding  a  babe  in  his  arms 
and  speaking  of  its  ancestors  through  three  generations, 
whom  he  had  known,  he  was  interrupted  by  the  cries 
of  the  many  infants  who  were  around  him.  Pausing 
he  said,  '  The  bleating  of  the  lambs  drowns  the 
shepherd's  voice.' 

"  Like  the  old  Puritans,  he  often  chose  a  text  which 
was  a  'word  in  season.'  .  .  .  On  the  Sunday  on  which 
he  admitted  a  husband,  wife,  and  three  daughters  to 
the  table  of  the  Lord,  his  text  was  '  Come  thou  and  all 
thy  house  into  the  Ark.'  A  robbery  occurred  in  the 
chapel,  next  Sabbath  the  text  was  '  Let  him  that  stole 


steal  no  more.'  And  on  one  occasion,  when  a  good 
deal  of  talk  had  gone  on  with  regard  to  a  personal  and 
private  matter,  his  text  was  '  What  is  that  to  thee  ? ' 

Mr.  Clayton  died  in  1862.  An  appreciation  of  him 
in  the  Evangelical  Magazine  of  that  year  says  he 
believed  in  Dr.  Chalmers'  maxim,  "  A  house-going 
minister  makes  a  church-going  people."  He  was  in 
great  demand  as  a  special  preacher,  and  was  always 
ready  to  help.  He  was  warmly  attached  to  Puritan 
theology,  and  had  little  or  no  sympathy  with  modern 
forms  of  thought. 

During  Mr.  Clayton's  ministry  the  chapel  was  con- 
siderably enlarged;  and  when  in  1854  ms  jubilee  was 
celebrated  the  event  was  marked  by  a  handsome  pre- 
sentation, and  by  the  erection  of  the  Clayton  Memorial 
Schools,  which  would  hold  750  children. 

The  year  before  this  it  was  decided  to  find  a  co- 
pastor  for  Mr.  Clayton,  and  Rev.  Paul  J.  Turquand 
was  chosen.  Mr.  Turquand  was  born  in  1826,  at 
Milford  in  Hants,  where  his  father  was  the  Baptist 
minister.  After  completing  a  course  of  preparation  at 
Homerton  and  New  Colleges,  he  was  sent  one  Sunday 
in  March,  1853,  to  supply  at  Walworth. 

Mr.  Clayton  received  his  services  very  kindly,  asked 
him  much  about  himself,  advised  him  to  decline  the 
invitation  he  had  already  received,  and  offered  him  his 
own  pulpit  on  probation.  Mr.  Turquand  accepted,  and 
was  ordained  on  June  8  of  that  same  year. 

For  thirty-seven  years  Mr.  Turquand  worthily  sus- 
tained this  his  only  pastorate.  He  had  not  altogether 
an  easy  task  to  follow  a  man  of  Mr.  Clayton's  power, 
and  to  minister  to  a  congregation  that  had  grown  old 
with  its  pastor.  But  gradually  innovations  were  intro- 
duced, a  new  organ  was  built,  monthly  church  meetings 

Rev.  Paul  J.  Turquand,  Walworth. 


took  the  place  of  those  that  had  been  held  at  rare 
intervals,  and  various  movements  were  started  that 
added  much  to  the  usefulness  of  the  church. 

In  1875  the  chapel,  which  was  exceptionally  dark 
and  ugly,  was  renovated  and  altogether  transformed  at 
a  cost  of  £2,000. 

For  twenty-one  years  Mr.  Turquand,  in  addition  to 
the  work  of  his  own  church,  served  the  county  as 
secretary  of  the  Surrey  Congregational  Union ;  and 
for  several  years  was  financial  secretary  of  the  London 
Congregational  Board.  But  as  time  went  on  great  and 
depressing  changes  took  place  in  the  neighbourhood, 
and  Walworth  was  transformed — or  deformed — out  of 
recognition.  Deserted  by  almost  all  who  were  able  to 
live  elsewhere,  the  whole  district  was  occupied  by  a 
densely  crowded  working-class  population  "  with  a 
high  standard  of  indifference  and  a  low  standard  of 
morality."  To  these  Mr.  Turquand's  ministry  pre- 
sented no  attraction ;  and  in  1890,  after  the  centenary 
of  the  chapel,  he  resigned  the  pastorate,  receiving  many 
substantial  tokens  of  appreciation  and  esteem. 

After  his  retirement  Mr.  Turquand  resided  at  Clapham, 
still  continuing  his  services  to  the  County  Union.  He 
resigned  the  secretaryship  shortly  after  the  death  of  his 
wife,  which  occurred  in  October,  1900.  The  shock  of 
this  bereavement  he  never  fully  overcame.  He  died 
suddenly,  while  reading  in  his  study  chair,  August  12, 

On  the  retirement  of  Mr.  Turquand,  many  who  had 
loyally  supported  him  at  York  Street  felt  no  longer 
bound  to  the  place,  and  formed  other  associations. 
Moreover,  so  impoverished  was  the  district  that  if  the 
building  had  been  filled  with  a  purely  local  congrega- 
tion, its  work  could  not  have  been  carried  on  without 


external  aid.  Under  these  circumstances  the  London 
Congregational  Union  adopted  York  Street  as  one  of 
their  own  missions.  The  chapel,  somewhat  altered 
with  a  view  to  new  methods,  was  re-named  "  Browning 
Hall,"  the  name  being  cordially  approved  by  the  only 
son  of  the  illustrious  poet  whom  it  commemorates. 
The  Mission  was  placed  under  the  superintendence  of 
Rev.  T.  H.  Darlow,  M.A.,  from  Crosby,  Liverpool,  who 
early  in  1901  accepted  a  call  to  the  pastorate.  A 
vigorous  beginning  was  made  of  many  sided  social 
service;  but  difficulties  arose  owing  to  misunder- 
standings between  the  London  Union  and  the  local 
committee,  which  resulted  in  Mr.  Darlow's  resignation 
in  the  summer  of  1902. 

There  was   some   danger    lest    the   difficulties  just 
referred  to  should  bring   the  whole  enterprise  to  an 
end ;    but   a   reconstructed    committee   resolved   that 
this    calamity    should    not    befall.      The    Committee 
included  Revs.   Dr.  Horton,  C.  S.  Home,  and  G.  S. 
Macgregor,  Dr.  McClure  of  Mill  Hill  School,  W.  T. 
Stead,  Esq.,  the  eminent  journalist,  and  others.    It  was 
found  that  progress  on  lines  suited  to  the  locality  was 
hindered  by  the   terms  of   the  trust,  and  after  much 
negotiation  the  difficulty  was   solved   by  the  trustees 
selling  the  entire  church  property  to  the  Committee. 
This  was  effected  on  July  4,  1894.     The   Mission  was 
reconstituted  as  a  social  settlement,  under  the  direc- 
tion of  Rev.  F.  Herbert  Stead,  M.A.,  as  Warden,  and 
was  inaugurated  by  a  devotional  service  on  December 
13,  1894.     Public  work  commenced  on  the  first  Sunday 
of  1895,  and  is  still  continued  by  Mr.  Stead  and  many 
voluntary  helpers.     The  forms  of  Christian  and  social 
service  which  have  their  centre  at  Browning  Hall  are 
many  and  various  ;    but  at  the  heart  of  the  settlement 


a  fellowship  of  believers  in  unbroken  continuity  with 
the  old  Congregational  Church  in  York  Street. 


Little  can  be  learned  of  this  congregation.  In  a  list 
dated  1811,  it  is  described  as  "  Calvinist,"  services 
three  times  on  Sunday  and  on  Thursday,  ministers 
various.  It  is  not  mentioned  in  the  lists  of  1827  and 
1832.  In  1843 — 6  it  is  described  as  Congregational, 
with  J.  O.  Bridgeman  as  pastor ;  and  thenceforward  to 
1855  the  minister  is  J.  Wood,  described  as  a  Cheshunt 
student.  The  next  two  years  it  is  reported  vacant,  and 
then  disappeared  from  the  lists.  Mr.  Wood  died  at 
Bath  in  1866,  aged  71. 



The  earliest  record  of  direct  evangelistic  effort  in 
Sutton  is  in  association  with  the  name  of  William 
Romaine,  who,  concerned  for  the  spiritual  destitution 
of  the  village,  preached  in  the  kitchen  of  a  private 
house.  Some  time  later,  in  1798,  John  Hudson,  after- 
wards minister  at  West  Bromwich,  but  then  living  at 
Mitcham,  had  his  attention  directed  to  the  village,  and 
began  to  preach  in  the  open  air,  not  without  con- 
siderable opposition.     He  was  assisted  in  this  work  by 


his  friend  Thomas  Lewis,  who  afterwards  became 
minister  of  Union  Chapel,  Islington. 

Amongst  those  who  gladly  heard  the  young  preachers 
and  encouraged  them  in  their  work  was  Mr.  Wall,  a 
member  of  the  church  at  Barbican,  London,  who  had 
retired  from  business,  and  come  to  live  at  Sutton. 
He  invited  the  preachers  to  his  house  and  fitted  up  a 
room  for  their  services. 

This  soon  became  insufficient  for  the  congregations 
that  gathered,  and  Mr.  Wall  erected,  at  his  own 
expense,  a  small  chapel  close  to  his  own  house.  This 
was  opened  in  1799. 

After  Mr.  Wall's  death  the  congregations  still  con- 
tinued to  increase,  and  enlargement  became  necessary, 
especially  as  Sutton  stood  in  the  midst  of  a  number  of 
villages  which  were  unsupplied  with  any  Nonconfor- 
mist place  of  worship. 

Half  the  sum  required  was  speedily  raised,  and  on 
September  30,  1819,  the  enlarged  chapel  was  opened 
with  sermons  by  Revs.  George  Clayton  and  G.  Collison. 
The  pulpit  was  supplied  by  students  from  Hoxton 
College  and  neighbouring  ministers,  and  a  small  legacy 
left  by  Mr.  Wall  helped  to  support  the  work. 

This  hopeful  time  seems  to  have  been  succeeded  by 
a  long  period  of  depression.  Ultimately  the  church 
came  under  the  oversight  of  the  Surrey  Mission,  whose 
agents  supplied  the  pulpit  in  connection  with  Ewell. 

In  1839,  at  the  instance  of  Mr.  Lewis,  who  still 
retained  a  deep  interest  in  the  village,  Rev.  Thomas 
Kennerley,  of  Mitcham,  took  the  oversight  of  the  work. 
For  some  time  he  preached  on  Sabbath  afternoons  and 
week  evenings ;  and  the  chapel  was  repaired  and  made 
more  commodious  and  inviting.  A  nephew  of  Mr. 
Wall,  the  late  Mr.  Betts,  of  Oxford  Street,  generously 


contributed   to   the   alterations,    and    to    the    regular 
support  of  the  ministry. 

In  1848  the  building,  which  was  previously  private 
property,  was  transferred  to  trustees  on  behalf  of  the 

The  following  year,  Rev.  Isaac  Jacob  began  to  preach 
at  Sutton.  Mr.  Jacob  was  born  at  Debenham,  Suffolk, 
where  his  father  was  parish  clerk,  July  31,  1808.  For 
a  time  he  was  tutor  in  the  Grammar  School  at  Wood- 
bridge  ;  and  at  the  early  age  of  twenty-one  opened  a 
private  school  at  Maldon  in  Essex.  The  baptism  of 
his  first  child  led  him  to  Nonconformity.  He  felt  a 
strong  objection  to  the  baptismal  service  of  the  Prayer 
Book.  Finally  he  determined  to  enter  the  Noncon- 
formist ministry ;  and  was  ordained  at  Great  Wakering, 
Essex,  on  July  7,  1837.  He  still  carried  on  his  school, 
till  1848,  when  he  removed  to  Tooting,  and  opened  a 
larger  establishment.  Whilst  here  he  was  introduced 
to  the  church  at  Sutton.  At  first  his  services  were 
only  intended  to  be  occasional,  but  finding  they  were 
acceptable  to  the  people,  he  took  permanent  charge  of 
the  work.  For  ten  years  he  walked  to  and  fro  from 
Tooting,  a  distance  of  five  miles.  Shortly  after 
Mr.  Jacob's  acceptance  of  the  pastorate,  it  was  found 
desirable  to  reorganise  the  church ;  which  was  done 
under  the  superintendence  of  Messrs.  Steer  (of  Croydon), 
and  Kennerley. 

So  successful  was  Mr.  Jacob's  ministry  that  a  new 
building  was  found  necessary.  A  freehold  site  in  Benhill 
Street  was  secured,  and  a  church  erected  to  seat 
300  persons,  with  school  room,  vestry  and  class  rooms. 
The  first  stone  was  laid  on  April  21,  1859,  by 
Mr.  J.  H.  Townend ;  and  the  building  was  opened  for 
worship  August  9,  when  Rev.  H.  Allon  (Mr.   Lewis's 


successor),  preached  in  the  morning  and  Rev.  Joshua 
Harrison  in  the  evening.     The  building  cost  £1,250. 

Mr.  Jacob  now  came  to  reside  in  Sutton,  as  the  work 
demanded  the  whole  of  his  attention.  In  1864,  the 
further  success  of  his  work  made  a  new  gallery  neces- 

Towards  the  end  of  his  ministry  Mr.  Jacob  partly 
lost  his  sight  through  cataract.  He  resigned  his  pasto- 
rate in  March,  1877,  after  twenty-eight  years'  faithful 
service,  which  was  recognised  by  a  testimonial  of  £550. 
The  closing  years  of  his  life  were  spent  at  Brixton, 
where  he  died  March  30,  1881,  at  the  age  of  seventy- 

In  September,  1878,  Rev.  John  Barnes  accepted  the 
invitation  of  the  church  to  the  pulpit  that  had  been 
vacant  for  eighteen  months.  Mr.  Barnes  was  educated 
at  Cheshunt,  and  had  held  the  pastorate  of  Fareham 
for  six  years. 

In  1880  a  new  church  was  resolved  on  in  a  more 
convenient  location.  A  plot  of  land  was  purchased  on 
the  Sutton  Court  estate,  for  £625.  The  cost  of  this 
was  defrayed  by  Mr.  A.  Dyet,  a  member  of  the  Building 
Committee  ;  and  promises  of  £1,500  were  made  towards 
the  building. 

Meanwhile  a  temporary  iron  chapel  was  erected  in 
1883,  and  opened  on  January  24  of  that  year. 

Four  years  later,  Mr.  Waters,  a  member  of  the  con- 
gregation, gave  the  adjoining  plot  of  land.  Here  it 
was  decided  to  build  a  church  suitable  to  the  needs  of 
the  locality,  for  Sutton  was  no  longer  a  little  village, 
but  a  well-to-do  residential  suburb  of  the  great  city. 
The  foundation  stone  was  laid  by  Mr.  Dyet  on  July 
20,  1889. 

Shortly  before  this  Mr.  Barnes  resigned  the  pastorate. 


He  closed  his  ministry  in  January,  1889,  and  still  lives 
retired  in  Sutton. 

In  September,  1889,  the  Rev.  James  Chadburn  com- 
menced his  ministry  here.  He  had  previously  been  pastor 
at  Middlesbrough-on-Tees,  and  at  Trinity  Church, 
Poplar.  The  following  February  the  new  church  was 
opened,  the  preacher  being  Rev.  R.  F.  Horton,  D.D.,  of 

The  old  church  in  Benhill  Street  was  reopened,  and 
Sunday  evening  services  carried  on  with  much  encour- 
agement. The  iron  temporary  church  was  arranged 
as  a  model  Sunday  school.  About  £"1,000  was  left 
as  a  debt  on  the  new  buildings,  but  this  was  greatly 
reduced  by  a  successful  bazaar  later  in  the  year, 
which  realised  £700.  A  deaconess  has  recently  been 
appointed,  whose  services  are  much  appreciated. 

Mr.  Chadburn  resigned  in  1892.  He,  like  his  prede- 
cessor, lives  retired  in  Sutton. 

The  following  year,  Rev.  Joseph  Jones,  the  present 
minister,  accepted  the  pastorate.  Mr.  Jones  was 
educated  at  Brecon,  and  graduated  M.A.  at  Glasgow. 
He  was  for  two  years  at  Airdrie  (1885 — 7)  and  then 
for  six  years  at  Hope  Chapel,  Wigan  (1887—93).  He 
has  now  for  thirteen  years  exercised  a  cultured  and 
energetic  ministry  at  Sutton ;  besides  doing  good 
services  among  the  churches  of  the  county  and  the 
neighbouring  city. 

The  centenary  of  the  church  was  celebrated  in 




Several  Welsh  congregations  were  gathered  in 
London  about  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century. 
For  one  of  these  a  meeting  house  was  erected  in  Guild- 
ford Street,  Southwark,  "  near  the  Park,"  which  was 
opened  on  January  5,  1807.  Six  sermons  were 
preached  on  the  day  of  opening,  three  in  Welsh  and 
three  in  English. 

Our  information  about  this  church  is  very  incom- 
plete. For  some  years  the  pulpit  was  occupied  by  a 
succession  of  ministers  from  Wales,  usually  for  three 
months  at  a  time.  The  first  settled  minister  of  whom 
we  find  any  record  is  Rev.  David  Davies,  a  Carmarthen 
student,  who  was  already  settled  in  1S41,  and  remained 
till  1867.  For  several  years  alter  his  departure  the 
pulpit  is  reported  ';  supplied"  or  "  vacant." 

A  new  chapel  in  Southwark  Bridge  Road  was  opened 
on  February  23,  1873  ;  the  dimensions  are  given  as 
42  by  33-0-  feet,  the  accommodation  500,  and  the  cost 
as  £2,000  without  the  site. 

In  1875  Rev.  R.  L.  Thomas,  from  Llanon,  accepted 
the  pastorate.  He  was  a  Brecon  student ;  he  ministered 
here  about  twelve  years,  and  died  January  4,  1888. 
After  nearly  two  years'  vacancy  Rev.  D.  C.  Jones, 
another  Brecon  student,  was  invited  from  Bethesda 
Chapel,  Merthyr  Tydfil.  He  had  formerly  ministered 
at  Defy  nock.  He  still  holds  the  pastorate,  which 
appears  to  have  been  highly  successful,  as  the  church 
reports  315  members. 



This,  which  is  described  as  "  Calvinist  "  and  "  Inde- 
pendent," must  have  been  near  the  New  Kent  Road. 
All  we  can  learn  of  it  is  that  a  Mr.  Helmsworth  was 
minister  there  in  181 1,  E.  Mitchell  in  1827,  and  T. 
Bradshaw  in  1832. 


(1806— 1820) 

The  work  at  West  Norwood  was  commenced  about 
a  hundred  years  ago  in  connection  with  the  London 
Itinerant  Society.  A  small  chapel  was  opened  on 
August  18,  1806.  We  are  told  that  the  occasion  was 
one  of  great  interest.  More  friends  came  from  London 
and  the  surrounding  villages  than  the  little  chapel 
would  hold,  and  the  service  had  to  be  conducted  in  the 
open  air.  The  fact  that  £84  was  collected  testifies  to 
the  success  of  the  day. 

For  twelve  years  the  work  was  carried  on  by  the 
preachers  of  the  Itinerant  Society,  and  afterwards 
students  from  Hoxton  supplied  the  pulpit.  By  the 
year  1820  the  chapel  had  become  too  small  to  accom- 
modate the  increasing  congregations,  and  on  Wednes- 
day, July  28,  the  foundation  stone  of  a  new  sanctuary 
was  laid.  Rev.  John  Clayton  preached  and  Rev. 
Thomas  Jackson,  of  Stockwell,  concluded  the  service. 

The  following  year  William  Low,  a  Hoxton 
student,  was  called  to  the  pastorate  and  ordained  on 
June    13,    1821.      He    was    succeeded   by    Rev.   John 


Richards,  who  commenced  his  ministry  in  1825.  Mr. 
Richards  was  born  at  Gloucester  on  May  10, 1778.  He 
would  be  a  lad  in  that  city  when  Robert  Raikes  was 
carrying  on  his  Sunday  school,  and  probably  would 
see  something  of  the  commencement  of  that  movement 
destined  to  grow  to  such  vast  extent.  Some  years  later 
his  parents  removed  to  Deptford,  where  he  joined  the 
church  under  Rev.  Mr.  Barker.  His  first  efforts  at 
preaching  were  in  the  villages  around,  often  accom- 
panied by  another  young  man,  destined  in  after  years 
to  become  a  famous  minister,  William  Bengo  Collyer. 
His  first  pastorate  was  at  Stourbridge.  He  resigned 
at  Norwood  in  1830,  and  afterward  laboured  at  Birming- 
ham and  Wordsley.  He  died  at  Stourbridge,  where 
his  son  was  minister,  on  Sunday,  April  23,  1854.  ^ev- 
John  Wooldridge  was  the  next  minister.  He  laboured 
here  from  June,  1833,  to  August,  1834.  He  afterwards 
went  to  Jamaica,  where  he  died  in  1840. 

In  November,  1834,  the  Church  gave  an  invitation 
to  Rev.  Chas.  Nice  Davies.  Mr.  Davies  was  the  son 
of  a  sergeant  in  the  Guards.  He  was  brought  up  as  a 
soldier,  and  became  an  ensign  at  the  age  of  twelve. 
Two  years  later  he  went  to  India.  He  served  in  the 
Peninsular  War,  and  after  Waterloo  was  the  second 
Englishman  to  enter  Paris.  Returning  to  England  he 
settled  in  Kent.  Up  till  this  time  he  had  led  a  gay  and 
frivolous  life,  but  one  day,  lighting  upon  Dr.  Bryne's 
"  Essay  on  the  New  Testament,"  he  read  it  and  became 
first  an  anxious  enquirer  and  then  a  disciple  of  Christ. 
He  joined  the  Independent  Church  at  Milton,  and 
afterwards  removed  to  Uxbridge,  where  he  studied  for 
the  ministry.  His  first  charge  was  at  Queensborough, 
in  the  Isle  of  Sheppey.  He  remained  at  Norwood  till 
December,  1839,  when  he  removed  to  become  tutor  of 


the  Independent  College  at  Brecon.  He  was  not  per- 
mitted long  to  serve  the  church  in  that  capacity, 
but  died  January  22,  1842,  at  the  early  age  of 
forty- eight. 

The  next  pastor  was  Rev.  B.  L.  Kent,  son  of  Rev. 
Benjamin  Kent,  of  Barnstaple.  He  was  born  at  Trow- 
bridge June  1,  1817.  He  studied  at  Edinburgh,  and 
gained  the  first  prize  for  Greek  at  seventeen  years  of 
age.  He  received  his  ministerial  training  at  Coward 
College.  Glastonbury  was  his  first  charge,  where  he 
remained  twelve  months.  He  removed  to  Norwood  in 
1840,  and  was  ordained  on  September  4  in  that  year. 
During  his  ministry  the  church  and  congregation 
steadily  grew.  Three  galleries  were  erected  in  the 
chapel,  and  an  infant  school  and  large  British  school 
were  established.  The  cost  of  these,  together  with  a 
Mechanics'  Institute,  was  defrayed  by  two  members  of 
the  congregation.  The  church  was  also  able  to  sustain 
a  missionary  in  one  of  the  neglected  districts  of  the 
county.  Mr.  Kent  died  in  1866.  His  biographer  in 
the  Year  Book  bears  high  tribute  to  his  character.  He 
is  described  as  blending  the  genius  and  piety  of  the  old 
Puritan  with  the  urbanity  of  the  modern  pastor.  He 
was  a  man  of  prayer  and  of  essentially  benevolent 
spirit.  Added  to  this,  he  was  one  of  the  most  accom- 
plished scholars  in  the  denomination. 

Mr.  Kent  was  followed  by  Rev.  W.  Knibb  Lea,  a 
nephew  of  William  Knibb,  the  eminent  Baptist  mis- 
sionary. Mr.  Lea  had  been  for  eight  years  an  active 
missionary  at  Amoy.  His  earnestness  and  thoughtful 
preaching  so  endeared  him  to  the  people  at  Norwood 
that  for  a  whole  year  they  refused  to  accept  his  resigna- 
tion, when  he  was  seriously  invalided.  He  retired, 
however,  in  1878,  after  a  pastorate  of  twelve  years. 



His  strength  never  returned,  and  he  died  at  Brighton 
in  January,  1881. 

His  successor  was  Rev.  J.  McCann,  D.D.,  F.G.S., 
who  had  seceded  from  the  Episcopal  Church.  His 
ministry  continued  from  1879  to  1886,  when  he  returned 
to  his  former  ecclesiastical  associations. 

The  church  next  invited  Rev.  Samuel  King,  of  Isle- 
worth.  He  ministered  from  1886  to  1890,  when  he 
accepted  an  invitation  to  Westgate-on-Sea.  In  1899 
he  removed  to  Maidstone,  where  he  now  labours. 

Rev.  Walter  Baxendale  then  accepted  the  pastorate. 
He  had  been  a  student  of  Hackney  College,  and  had 
ministered  at  Claremont  (Pentonville  Road),  Hammer- 
smith and  Limerick.  He  held  the  pastorate  at  Norwood 
till  1904,  and  still  lives  in  the  neighbourhood. 

The  Church,  after  a  short  interval,  called  the  present 
pastor,  Rev.  W.  P.  Tucker  (from  East  Knoyle,  Wilts.) 
to  its  oversight.  Mr.  Tucker  commenced  his  ministry 
here  in  1905. 


(1812 — 1900) 

Oxted  is  a  parish  and  village  ten  miles  south-east  of 
Croydon,  almost  on  the  border  of  Kent.  Here  Jeremy 
Bentham  lived  in  the  early  years  of  the  nineteenth 
century,  and  the  same  house  was  subsequently  occupied 
by  George  Grote,  the  historian,  who  often  had  for  a  visitor 
John  Stuart  Mill. 

Nonconformity  in  Oxted  is  of  no  recent  date,  for  we 
find  among  the  licences  granted  for  worship  in  1672, 
one  in  this   village   to   the   house   of   Thomas    Stone, 

OXTED  83 

Presbyterian.  Probably  no  church  was  formed,  or  if 
there  was  it  soon  ceased  to  exist,  for  not  until  130  years 
later  have  we  any  record  of  Nonconformist  services. 

The  attention  of  the  Surrey  Mission  had  been  drawn 
to  the  neighbourhood  some  years  before,  but  for  a  long 
time  all  efforts  to  obtain  a  room  were  fruitless.  At 
length  a  farmer  offered  a  room  in  his  house,  here 
services  were  carried  on,  and  the  firstfruit  of  the  mission 
was  the  conversion  of  his  own  daughter.  The  work  so 
prospered  that  a  chapel  became  absolutely  necessary. 
On  June  5,  1811,  what  the  Evangelical  Magazine  calls 
"a  small  neat  chapel"  was  opened,  capable  of  seating 
some  two  hundred  persons. 

This  was  one  of  the  first  stations  occupied  by  the 
society.  In  1812,  Rev.  S.  A.  Dubourg  was  placed 
over  this  and  some  neighbouring  villages,  and  many  of 
the  early  reports  of  the  mission  speak  of  his  zeal  and 

In  1813  a  church  was  formed  of  fifteen  members,  and 
eight  years  later  this  had  increased  to  forty-six. 

During  Mr.  Dubourg's  ministry  services  were  held  at 
Pain's  Hill  (in  Limpsfield  parish),  sometimes  in  the  open 
air,  and  sometimes  in  a  farm-house  kitchen,  into  which 
as  many  as  ninety  persons  have  been  crowded.  At 
length  a  chapel  was  built  to  hold  150,  and  opened  on 
August  6,  1822. 

In  1828  Mr.  Dubourg  found  it  necessary,  from  the 
state  of  his  health,  to  seek  a  less  laborious  pastorate. 
He  removed  to  Marden  in  Kent,  and  afterwards  to 
Clapham,  where  he  died  in  1852.  He  was  succeeded  by 
Rev.  Edward  Nicholls,  a  student  from  Hackney. 

In  1853  Mr.  Nicholls  was  laid  aside  by  a  severe  attack 
of  fever,  and  two  years  later  resigned  after  an  efficient 
service  of  twenty-seven  years. 

G  2 


He  was  succeeded  in  1855  by  Mr.  Henson,  a  town 
missionary  from  Gravesend,  who  laboured  till  1862. 
On  January  1,  1S63,  Mr.  Cockerton  was  appointed,  and 
continued  the  oversight  of  the  church  till  187 1  when 
the  Surrev  Mission,  owing  to  lack  of  funds,  was  com- 
pelled to  withdraw  their  Evangelist. 

In  1893,  the  Surrey  Congregational  Union  repaired 
the  little  chapel  at  Pain's  Hill  and  recommenced 
services  there. 

At  length,  through  the  efforts  of  friends  from 
George  Street,  Croydon,  and  Caterham  Churches,  a  site 
was  secured  at  Oxted  and  the  present  building  erected. 
The  new  church  was  opened  on  Thursday,  July  12, 
1900  ;  memorial  stones  were  "  fixed  "  by  Mr.  J.  Carvell 
Williams,  M.P.,  and  Mr.  G.  H.  Leeson.  The  cost  of  the 
new  building  was  £"1,300,  of  which  about  £700  remained 
to  be  paid. 

The  same  year  Rev.  B.  Vaughan  Pryce,  M.A.,  LL.B. 
(of  New  College,  and  Trinity  College,  Cambridge),  was 
invited  to  take  charge  of  the  church.  Mr.  Pryce 
accepted  the  invitation  and  spent  three  years  of  happy 
and  useful  work  at  Oxted  till,  in  1903,  he  removed  to 
Clifton  Down,  where  he  now  labours. 

After  a  short  interval  an  invitation  was  given  to  Rev. 
J.  Halsey,  who  had  just  resigned  the  pastorate  at 
Anerley,  and  was  seeking  a  less  arduous  sphere  of 
service.  Mr.  Halsey  accepted  the  pastorate  and  com- 
menced his  ministry  early  in  1904. 

Shortly  afterwards  steps  were  taken  towards  erect- 
ing a  still  more  suitable  building  for  this  increasing 

Oxted  had  changed  from  a  little  Surrey  village  into 
a  high  class  residential  neighbourhood,  one  of  the  out- 
lying suburbs  of  the  great  city.     A  site  was  secured  in 


Blue  House  Lane,  and  designs  were  prepared  for  a 
beautiful  building  that  would  cost  £5,000. 

A  bazaar  was  held  in  February,  1905,  when  £473  was 

Toward  the  close  of  that  year  Mr.  Halsey  resigned 
the  pastorate,  and  an  invitation  was  soon  afterwards 
sent  to  Mr.  Sydney  Berry,  B.A.,  of  Clare  College, 
Cambridge,  and  Mansfield  College,  Oxford,  son  of  the 
late  Dr.  Charles  Berry  of  Wolverhampton.  Mr.  Berry 
accepted  the  invitation  and  commenced  his  ministry  on 
July  15,  1906. 

Pain's  Hill  continues  to  be  worked  as  a  mission  in 
connection  with  Oxted  Church. 



Towards  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century  some 
ministers  associated  with  George  Whitfield  preached 
in  a  little  building  that  had  been  prepared  for  them  in 
this  village. 

Amongst  those  who  afterwards  rendered  occasional 
service  were  Matthew  Wilks,  Rowland  Hill,  Thomas 
Jackson  of  Stockwell,  and  John  Sibree  of  Frome. 
Other  ministers  preached  more  regularly.  At  first  the 
attendance  was  encouraging,  but  later  the  congregation 
declined  and  the  chapel  was  closed. 

In  1S16  another  effort  was  made  to  evangelise  the 
village,  and  on  November  27  in  that  year  a  little 
chapel  was  opened  by  Revs.  Rowland  Hill,  E.  J.  Jones, 
and  R.  Stodhart. 


Shortly  afterwards  Rev.  Thomas  Williams,  formerly 
of  Trowbridge,  accepted  an  invitation  to  supply  the 
pulpit  for  twelve  months,  during  which  time  the  place 
became  so  crowded  that  the  necessity  was  strongly  felt 
for  erecting  a  new  chapel. 

A  good  site  was  procured,  and  with  the  strong 
recommendation  of  such  men  as  those  we  have  men- 
tioned, with  Dr.  Collyer,  Thomas  Lewis  of  Islington, 
and  indeed  all  the  neighbouring  ministers,  the  case 
for  Mitcham  was  laid  before  the  public. 

On  April  28,  1819,  a  commodious  chapel  called 
Zion  Chapel  was  opened.  It  was  built  to  accommodate 
300  persons,  but  provision  was  made  for  a  gallery 
which  would  seat  an  additional  200.  The  opening 
services  were  conducted  by  Revs.  G.  Mudie,  Dr. 
Collyer,  and  Thomas  Jackson.  The  Evangelical  Maga- 
zine tells  us  that  the  attendance  was  numerous  and 
respectable,  and  the  collections  liberal,  but  a  debt  of 
over  £700  remained. 

Mr.  Williams  did  not  remain  long  after  the  opening 
of  the  new  chapel.  In  September,  1820,  he  accepted 
an  invitation  to  become  co-pastor  with  Rev.  Timothy 
East  at  Birmingham. 

On  January  17,  1821,  a  church  was  formed  by 
Rev.  Samuel  Hackett  of  London;  and  Hoxton  students 
ministered  to  the  little  fellowship  till  July,  1823,  when 
one  of  their  number,  Rev.  John  Varty,  was  ordained 

John  Varty  was  a  Londoner,  born  November  29, 1798. 
He  remained  at  Mitcham  fifteen  years,  and  in  1839 
removed  to  Fareham,  where  he  ministered  for  twenty- 
three  years.  He  afterwards  held  a  pastorate  at  Aston 
Tirrold,  Berks,  and  after  a  short  residence  at  Northamp- 
ton died  rather  suddenly  in  London,  April  16,  1873. 


Thomas  Kennerley,  of  Burton-on-Trent,  was  the 
next  minister.  He,  too,  was  born  in  the  great  city,  and 
as  a  youth  attended  Surrey  Chapel.  He  studied  for 
the  ministry  at  Newport  Pagnell,  and  on  leaving  settled 
at  Burton.  Soon  after  his  removal  to  Mitcham  a  front 
gallery  was  erected,  and  on  Sunday,  January  12,  1840, 
the  chapel  was  reopened.  Two  years  later  a  large 
room  was  built  for  the  Sunday  school  and  with  a 
view  to  establishing  a  day  school. 

In  1854  Mr.  Thomas  Pratt,  a  deacon  of  the  church, 
bequeathed  £20  per  annum  for  the  support  of  the 
ministry,  and  £90  per  annum  for  the  support  of 
day  schools.  A  British  school  was  opened  on 
July  20,  1857,  in  which  200  boys  and  girls  received 

During  Mr.  Kennerley's  pastorate  at  Mitcham  he 
was  for  some  years  one  of  the  joint  secretaries  of  the 
Surrey  Mission.  In  1856  failing  health  compelled  him 
to  resign.  For  a  time  he  preached  at  Eltham,  but  was 
never  again  strong.  He  lived  for  a  while  in  retirement 
at  Gravesend,  and  died  July  12,  1870. 

A  few  months  after  Mr.  Kennerley's  resignation 
Rev.  George  Stewart,  of  Hastings,  accepted  the  vacant 
charge.  He  remained  till  1862,  when  he  removed 
to  Newcastle-on-Tyne.  He  has  since  held  pastorates 
at  Glasgow,  Kilburn,  Reading,  and  Bexhill,  and  now 
lives  retired  at  Woodford  Green. 

Mr.  Stewart  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  Thomas  Orr. 
He  was  born  in  1823  at  Annandale,  near  Kilmarnock, 
and  was  educated  for  the  law.  He  was  making  con- 
siderable headway  in  his  profession,  but  removing 
to  Glasgow,  under  the  influence  of  Dr.  Morrison  and 
Dr.  Guthrie,  he  gave  up  his  career  to  enter  the 
ministry.      After   a   course   at    Edinburgh    University 


he  settled  at  Ayr  in  1852,  and  then  removed  to 
Mitcham,  where  he  was  recognised  June  23,  1863. 

For  six  years  and  a  half  Mr.  Orr  exercised  a  faithful 
and  helpful  ministry  at  Mitcham.  In  1869  he  removed 
to  Poole,  and  four  years  later  to  Windsor,  where  he 
laboured  for  twenty  years.  He  died  at  Crouch  End 
September  30,  1895,  in  the  seventy-first  year  of  his  age. 

In  1870  Rev.  George  William  Joyce,  a  student  of 
Hackney  College,  accepted  the  pastorate.  He  remained 
two  years  and  removed  to  Tavistock  in  Devon. 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  J.  F.  Poulter,  B.A.  Mr. 
Poulter  was  educated  at  Queens'  College,  Cambridge, 
where  he  graduated  B.A.  For  twenty-six  years  he 
had  laboured  at  Wellingborough.  Mr.  Poulter's  pas- 
torate at  Mitcham  extended  from  June  20,  1872  to 
December  27,  1874.  He  has  not  sought  another 
charge,  and  is  spending  the  evening  of  his  long  life  at 

In  1875  Mr.  H.  W.  Mote,  of  Hackney  College, 
accepted  the  vacant  pulpit.  His  recognition  took 
place  on  August  3,  but  he  was  not  ordained  until 
October,  1876.  Mr.  Mote  only  remained  another 
year.  He  resigned  in  1877,  and  was  followed  by  Rev. 
W.  H.  Belchem,  whose  pastorate  was  also  short, 
lasting  from  October,  1877,  to  June  29,  1879. 

In  1880  Rev.  Robert  Richman  accepted  an  invita- 
tion to  the  vacant  charge  and  commenced  his  ministry 
on  August  1. 

Mr.  Richman  found  a  membership  of  only  thirty, 
but  it  has  since  largely  increased.  The  neighbouring 
population  is  rapidly  growing,  and  there  is  every 
reason  to  expect  for  the  church  a  prosperous  future. 
In  1886  the  chapel  was  refurnished  and  decorated. 
For  some  years  there  had  been  friction  between  the 

EWELL  89 

church  and  the  day  school,  but  at  last  the  trouble 
was  settled,  the  church  receiving  £10  a  year  for  the 
use  of  the  school-room.  Now  the  school  has  a  reputa- 
tion for  efficiency  and  good  work  which  is  acknowledged 
by  all  religious  parties. 

The  tomb  of  Rev.  Ingram  Cobbin,  M.A.,  author 
of  a  once  popular  Bible  Commentary,  who  died  in  1851, 
is  in  the  burial  ground  adjoining  the  church. 


(1825— 1864) 

There  was  a  Nonconformist  cause  in  Ewell  as  far 
back  as  1669,  for  we  read  that  a  conventicle  was 
detected  that  year  in  the  house  of  Mr.  Cutler,  a  brewer, 
and  another  in  the  house  of  Mrs.  Holmes,  a  widow. 
Here  about  fifty  Presbyterians  gathered  and  listened  to 
the  instructions  of  Mr.  Symonds,  from  Wimbledon ; 
Mr.  Batho,  of  London,  and  Mr.  King,  late  of  Ashtead. 
We  have  no  record  of  any  of  these  ministers,  save  that 
Mr.  King  was  ejected  from  Ashtead,  and  Mr.  Batho 
from  Ewell. 

How  long  this  cause  continued  we  are  not  told.  It  is 
not  until  the  eighteenth  century  that  we  again  find  a 
dissenting  community  in  this  town. 

The  story  of  this  new  cause  is  one  of  the  most 
remarkable  that  we  have  ever  read.  We  extract  the 
account  from  an  article  by  Mrs.  J.  A.  Owen,  in  a  book 
published  some  years  ago.  Mary  Wallis  was  the 
daughter  of  a  poor  but  respectable  couple  in  Ewell. 
When  nine  years  old  she  entered  on  domestic  service  ; 


and  early  in  life  showed  her  intense  zeal  for  the  things 
of  God.  She  attended  a  little  chapel  at  Epsom,  and 
one  night  walking  home  the  idea  occurred  to  her  "  what 
if  God  could  strengthen  my  hands,  so  that  I  could 
build  Him  a  little  chapel."  She  was  so  possessed  with 
the  thought  that  she  knelt  in  the  stillness  midway 
across  Epsom  Downs,  and  prayed,  and  vowed  to  devote 
her  savings  and  earnings,  except  what  was  absolutely 
necessary  for  her  use,  to  this  object.  Her  wages  were 
only  £8  a  year  ;  but  she  at  once  commenced  to  lay  by 
some  portion.  Her  family  tried  to  dissuade  her  from 
so  mad  a  scheme,  but  she  would  not  give  it  up. 

A  year  passed  away  ;  and  one  day  she  heard  that  an 
itinerant  preacher  had  come  to  stay  in  Ewell.  At  once 
she  set  herself  to  find  a  room  where  services  could  be 
held  till  her  own  little  chapel  was  ready. 

The  only  place  she  could  get  was  a  slaughter-house. 
Unsavoury  as  the  place  was  she  set  to  work  to  make  it 
decent.  It  needed  much  sweetening,  but  she  white- 
washed the  walls  and  roof,  and  bought  some  seats,  and 
soon  turned  it  into  a  tolerable  room.  Unfortunately 
she  could  only  have  the  use  of  it  for  one  year.  At  the 
expiration  of  that  time  a  second  room  was  offered  her, 
where  her  little  congregation  met  for  five  years.  Then 
the  owner  died,  and  she  could  rent  it  no  longer.  Her 
wages  were  now  £10  a  year,  besides  occasional 
presents.  One  day  her  master  asked  her  if  she 
knew  how  much  she  possessed ;  and  informed  her 
that  by  judicious  investment  her  savings  had  reached 
£100.  At  the  same  time  he  advised  her  to  give  up  the 
folly  of  thinking  to  build  a  chapel.  Friends  said  she 
ought  to  support  her  mother  first  with  the  money,  so 
she  agreed  to  give  her  mother  2s.  6d.  a  week,  and  for 
six  years  paid  that  amount  regularly  and  cheerfully. 

EWELL  91 

But  she  was  not  to  be  dissuaded  from  her  scheme, 
and  after  a  while  the  chapel  was  commenced.  The 
£100  was  soon  gone  ;  and  there  came  a  day  when 
the  builder  refused  to  go  on  with  the  work  until  he  had 
£20  more.  That  night  the  family  heard  Mary  explain- 
ing the  matter  to  God  in  prayer  and  asking  for  help. 
Shortly  after,  while  she  was  out,  two  ladies  called. 
Their  names  were  never  known,  but  they  asked  for  the 
servant,  and  left  a  parcel.  Mary  opened  it,  and  found 
£21  and  a  new  gown. 

As  the  day  for  opening  drew  near,  she  decided  to  ask 
Rowland  Hill  to  open  her  little  chapel ;  and  went  up 
to  town  alone  to  beg  this  favour  of  the  great  preacher. 
When  she  told  Rowland  Hill  that  she  was  a  domestic 
servant  in  a  churchman's  family,  he  thought  her  crazy, 
and  sent  her  away  disappointed.  But  her  master  wrote 
to  Mr.  Hill,  and  told  him  the  whole  tale,  which  so 
moved  his  heart  that  he  at  once  promised  to  come. 
Such  was  the  state  of  things  in  Ewell  at  that  time  that 
no  one  could  be  found  to  entertain  even  so  celebrated  a 
personage  as  Rowland  Hill ;  so  Mary  had  to  provide 
him  refreshments  in  the  vestry.  She  tells  an  amusing 
story  of  how  she  bought  some  eggs,  and  a  bottle  of 
good  port ;  and  made  some  drink.  The  old  preacher 
was  a  bit  suspicious  and  declined  it.  However,  when 
Mary  was  out  of  the  room,  he  tasted  the  concoction,  and 
finding  it  very  good  finished  the  glass.  "  Mary,"  said 
he, when  he  was  going,  "could  you  make  me  another  of 
those  good  drinks  you  made  me  just  now  ?  " 

The  little  chapel  was  opened  in  1825  ;  and  here  the 
services  were  held  for  eight  years.  Mary  kept  the 
chapel  in  good  condition,  paid  the  preachers,  and  often 
entertained  them  from  Saturday  to  Monday,  having  the 
vestry  fitted  up  for  their  comfort. 


Then,  through  the  machinations  of  some  enemies, 
who  had  misled  her  as  to  the  tenure,  she  lost  the  whole. 

It  seems  to  have  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  vicar 
of  the  parish,  who  bought  the  chapel.  He  brought 
Mary  £5,  but  she  says  in  her  narrative,  "  I  could  not 
say  anything  to  him  at  that,  knowing  that  everything 
that  did  not  belong  to  the  landholder  belonged  to 
me.  I  remember  the  pews  and  forms,  and  all  the 
things  in  the  chapel,  cost  between  £20  and  £30, 
also  a  little  vestry  fitted  up  complete  with  every 
convenience,  to  accommodate  a  minister,  from  Satur- 
day to  Monday." 

The  chapel  was  dismantled,  and  the  pews  and  the 
pulpit  sold  by  auction.  It  was  feared  that  the  pulpit 
would  be  sent  up  to  the  racecourse,  to  put  a  man  in  to 
sell  racing  cards.  Mary  could  not  endure  that,  so  she 
collected  some  money,  and  bought  the  pulpit  back. 
One  day  the  Vicar  called  on  the  good  woman,  who  was 
now  living  in  a  cottage  belonging  to  her  master's  family, 
which  she  was  allowed  to  occupy  for  her  life.  She  told 
him  she  wished  she  could  run  up  a  little  room  in  her 
garden  for  a  day  school;  and  put  her  pulpit  in  a  corner, 
so  that  she  might  again  hear  a  sermon  from  it  before 
she  died.  The  Vicar  offered  to  take  the  pulpit,  and 
lend  her  the  use  of  a  school-room.  But  Mary  held  to 
her  own  idea,  got  another  small  room  built,  and  the 
first  day  it  was  opened  there  was  a  congregation  of 
seventy  people.  Here  services  were  continued  for  five 
years,  when,  through  her  illness  they  were  dropped  for 
two  years;  then  a  minister  promised  to  give  a  sermon 
weekly,  and  it  was  opened  again.  Mary  died  in 
February,  1870,  aged  ninety  ;  and  on  her  death-bed 
gave  her  pastor  the  Bible  which  Rowland  Hill  used 
when  he  opened  the  new  chapel. 

EWELL  93 

In  1864  Mr.  J.  C.  Sharpe,  of  Ewell,  exerted  his 
influence  to  procure  a  suitable  chapel  for  what  was 
now  a  town  of  over  2,000  inhabitants.  A  freehold  site 
was  secured,  at  a  cost  of  £550.  The  memorial  stone 
was  laid  by  Mr.  Sharpe  on  July  30  ;  and  in  February, 
1865,  a  building  to  seat  320  persons  was  opened.  The 
total  cost  was  under  £2,000,  of  which  £700  was 
contributed  locally. 

In  July  of  the  following  year  Mr.  James  Ellis,  a 
student  of  Western  College,  was  called  to  the  pastorate. 
Mr.  Ellis  remained  till  1868,  when  he  accepted  an 
invitation  to  New  Tabernacle,  Old  Street.  He  has 
since  held,  for  twenty-two  years,  a  pastorate  in 
Barnsbury,  and  is  now  minister  at  Point-in-View,  in 

Mr.  Ellis  was  succeeded,  in  February,  1869,  by  Rev. 
Joseph  Shaw. 

When  Mr.  Shaw  accepted  the  pastorate  the  diffi- 
culties of  the  position  at  Ewell  were  considerable  ;  but, 
full  of  energy  and  determination,  he  took  up  the  task  of 
making  Nonconformity  a  power  in  the  town.  Years  of 
hard  work  followed,  not  in  the  chapel  alone,  but  in  the 
open  air,  in  "  The  Grove"  and  other  places,  until 
success  gradually  followed  his  efforts,  and  the  chapel 
was  full  to  overflowing.  He  took  an  especial  interest 
in  working  men.  On  Monday,  December  14,  1874,  a 
modest  bill,  written  in  a  large,  round  hand,  invited  the 
working  men  to  a  free  tea  and  entertainment ;  and  this 
was  the  forerunner  of  a  long  series  of  meetings  for  their 
especial  benefit.  After  four  years  it  was  found  necessary 
to  build  a  lecture  hall.  A  freehold  site  was  obtained, 
and  on  Wednesday,  July  24,  1878,  Mr.  Shaw  had  the 
pleasure  of  welcoming  the  Earl  of  Rosebery  to  lay  the 
foundation  stone  of  a  hall  to  seat  400  persons.     Here 


Mr.  Shaw  laid  himself  out  for  the  intellectual  and  social 
welfare  of  the  neighbourhood.  He  recognised  the 
importance  of  technical  education  long  before  the 
county  councils  took  it  up,  and  promoted  three  most 
successful  technical  exhibitions  in  the  hall. 

In  addition  to  his  pastoral  labours  Mr.  Shaw  did 
useful  service  on  the  board  of  guardians  and  on  the 
rural  district  council,  of  which  latter  he  was  for  two 
years  chairman  ;  and  subsequently  represented  Ewell 
and  Banstead  on  the  county  council. 

In  1902,  after  thirty-four  years'  service,  Mr.  Shaw 
resigned  the  pastorate  of  Ewell,  his  only  charge  in  the 
Congregational  ministry.  He  still  lives  in  well-earned 
retirement,  amid  the  affection  and  esteem  of  his  people. 
The  following  year  an  invitation  was  given  to  the 
present  minister,  Rev.  Arthur  Platts,  B.A.,of  Mansfield 
College,  Oxford.     He  was  ordained  in  June,  1903. 



In  1829  a  chapel  belonging  to  a  society  of  Hunting- 
tonian  Baptists  was  first  hired,  and  afterwards  bought 
by  some  friends  of  Rev.  G.  Rogers,  who  desired  to 
secure  his  ministry  among  them.  Mr.  Rogers  had 
formerly  been  assistant  minister  at  the  Old  Weigh 
House  Chapel.  He  commenced  to  preach  in  Camberwell 
in  August,  1829,  but  it  was  not  till  June,  1835,  that  a 
church  was  organised.  Over  this  Mr.  Rogers  continued 
to  preside  for  nearly  thirty  years.     In  1856  he  accepted 


the  invitation  of  Rev.  C.  H.  Spurgeon  to  become 
divinity  tutor  in  the  new  Pastors'  College,  which  office 
he  filled  with  abundant  usefulness  for  eleven  years — 
notwithstanding  diversity  of  opinion  on  the  single 
question  of  baptism.  He  retired  from  the  pastorate 
in  1864,  and  died,  at  the  age  of  ninety-three,  on 
September  12,  1892.  He  was  to  the  last  a  firm  ad- 
herent of  the  old  Puritan  theology;  and  at  the  time 
of  his  death  was,  with  one  exception,  the  oldest 
Congregational  minister  in  the  world. 

After  Mr.  Rogers's  retirement  the  pulpit  was  occupied 
from  1864  to  1867  by  Rev.  J.  de  Kewer  Williams. 
There  was  then  a  vacancy  of  two  years,  when  Rev.  J. 
Bruce,  from  the  Bristol  Institute,  was  invited  to  the 
pastorate.  He  ministered  from  1870  to  1873,  and  then 
removed  to  Bradford.  The  next  pastor  was  Rev.  R. 
Wearmouth,  from  Brentford,  who  in  188 1  removed  to 
Odiham,  Hants.  The  next  year  Rev.  J.  Bryant  French, 
from  Stourport,  Worcestershire,  was  invited,  and 
ministered  about  twelve  years.  In  1887  the  lease 
expired,  and  an  iron  chapel  was  erected  on  a  new  site 
— unhappily  encumbered  with  a  mortgage.  In  1893 
dissensions  arose,  which  issued  in  Mr.  French's  resigna- 
tion. Further  difficulties  about  a  legacy  involved  legal 
proceedings ;  and  meanwhile  the  church  became  con- 
nected with  the  "  Old  Baptist  Union,"  and  the  pulpit 
was  occupied  by  a  Baptist  minister.  In  a  short  time 
the  mortgagee  foreclosed  ;  the  site  was  sold,  and  after 
efforts  on  the  part  of  the  London  Congregational 
Union  to  acquire  it  proved  fruitless. 



Of  all  the  great  highways  from  London,  not  one  has 
a  more  romantic  history  than  the  Old  Kent  Road — a 
history  that  runs  further  back,  perhaps,  than  that  of  any 
road  in  Britain.  Before  the  Roman  occupation,  when 
London  was  but  a  collection  of  huts  on  the  banks  of  the 
Thames,  a  causeway  was  made  across  the  swamps  to 
connect  it  with  the  road  that  wound  through  Kent  to 
Dover,  making  the  shortest  connection  between  the  city 
and  the  continent.  Later,  when  Canterbury  reared  its 
shrine  upon  the  road,  it  became  the  track  of  pilgrims, 
and  the  highway  of  priests,  prelates,  and  kings.  To 
tell  the  tale  of  those  who  have  trod  this  way  would  be 
to  recount  in  no  small  part  the  history  of  our  land. 

Even  in  the  eighteenth  century,  the  Old  Kent  Road 
must  have  been  a  busy  thoroughfare,  when,  as  Sir 
Walter  Besant  tells  us,  143  stage  coaches,  besides 
wagons,  carts,  and  caravans,  came  and  went  from  the 
Borough,  most  of  which  would  pass  along  this  road.  At 
the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  it  had  begun  to 
lose  something  of  its  rural  aspect,  although  there  are 
men  living  who  can  recall  the  time  when  they  went 
into  the  Old  Kent  Road  for  a  country  walk.  But  by 
this  time  a  population  of  three  or  four  thousand  had 
sprung  up,  for  whom  the  neighbourhood  afforded  no 
spiritual  provision. 

This  fact  seems  to  have  lain  heavily  upon  the  hearts 
of  some  Christian  people.  They  met  for  conference 
and   prayer   in   a   house   in    East    Lane,    and    formed 


themselves  into  a  committee  of  fifteen.  The  movement 
appears  to  have  been  quite  undenominational,  for  the 
committee  included  not  only  Dr.  Collyer,  of  Hanover 
Chapel,  and  George  Clayton,  of  Walworth,  but  also 
Dr.  Steane,  the  Baptist  minister  of  Camberwell. 

Work  was  commenced  in  a  cooperage  belonging  to 
Mr.  Weemys,  a  deacon  of  Collier's  Rents.  It  is  an 
interesting  fact  that  this  building  must  have  been 
situated  very  near  the  spot  where,  years  before,  the 
martyr  John  Penry  suffered  for  his  Nonconformity.  A 
Sunday  school  was  first  started,  and  then  Mr.  Weemys, 
with  Mr.  R.  Devey,  of  Surrey  Square,  engaged  students 
from  Highbury  College  for  a  service  on  Sunday 

After  some  difficulty  a  site  was  procured ;  and 
toward  the  end  of  1826  the  committee  were  able  to 
announce  that  the  Corporation  had  consented  to  the 
erection  of  a  chapel  on  part  of  their  ground  in  Marl- 
borough Place,  and  that  an  agreement  for  a  lease  had 
been  completed.  The  lease  was  not  held  direct  from 
the  city,  but  a  sub-lease  with  a  ground  rent  of  £30  was 
taken  up  until  its  termination.  No  time  was  lost  in 
utilising  the  site ;  a  tent  was  erected,  and  services 
immediately  begun. 

On  November  14,  1826,  the  first  stone  was  laid  by 
Mr.  Thomas  Wilson,  the  treasurer  of  Highbury  College, 
and  an  address  was  given  by  Dr.  Collyer,  some  five 
hundred  persons  being  present.  The  following  August 
the  chapel  was  opened.  Rev.  Dr.  Bennett,  of  Rother- 
ham  College,  preached  in  the  morning  from  Acts  xvi.  13, 
"  And  on  the  Sabbath  we  went  out  of  the  city  by  a  river 
side,  where  prayer  was  wont  to  be  made."  The  preacher 
was  evidently  a  little  mixed  in  his  ideas  as  to  the  exact 
situation  of  the  church.      He  seems  to  have  had  the 



impression  that  the  Old  Kent  Road  was  actually  on  the 
bank  of  the  Thames,  for  he  says,  "  It  is  out  of  the 
city  of  Philippi,  just  as  this  chapel  is  out  of  London  ;  it 
is  by  the  river  side,  as  near  as  we  may  be  to  the  banks 
of  the  Thames."  However,  says  Dr.  Waddington, 
"the  theology  of  the  Doctor  was  more  exact  than  his 
topography,"  and  in  the  course  of  an  hour  and  a  half 
he  preached  a  sermon  that  fills  an  octavo  pamphlet  of 
thirty-two  pages,  and  contains  no  less  than  eight 
thousand  words. 

The  undenominational  character  of  the  movement 
seems  to  have  been  at  first  sustained.  At  the  end  of  a 
year  the  committee  were  able  to  report  that  there  was 
"  a  most  respectable  congregation  of  attentive  hearers." 
For  the  next  six  years  no  attempt  was  made  to  organise 
a  church  or  find  a  pastor.  The  friends  at  Marlborough 
evidently  proceeded  with  caution,  as  Dr.  Waddington 
says,  "  Time  was  given  to  test  the  principles  and  charac- 
ter of  the  new  comers."  Meanwhile  the  services  were 
conducted  by  supplies.  One  of  these,  Rev.  George 
Rogers,  afterwards  became  the  first  theological  tutor 
of  the  Pastors'  College  ;  a  man  whom  Spurgeon  described 
as  "of  Puritanical  stamp,  deeply  learned,  orthodox  in 
doctrine,  and  judicious,  witty,  devout,  earnest,  liberal 
in  spirit,  and  withal  juvenile  in  heart,  to  an  extent  most 
remarkable  in  one  of  his  years." 

At  last,  on  September  12,  1833,  an  Independent 
Church  was  formed,  consisting  of  eighteen  members 
who  had  been  dismissed  from  neighbouring  churches 
to  form  the  new  fellowship.  Dr.  Bennett  presided,  and 
after  a  discourse  from  1  Cor.  iii.  11 — 15,  the  members, 
at  his  request,  gave  to  each  other  the  right  hand  of 
fellowship.  Messrs.  John  Chambers  and  Benjamin 
Hogsflesh  were  then  chosen  as  the  first  deacons. 


The  church,  when  formed,  was  not  long  in  rinding  a 
minister.  On  October  n,  Thomas  Hughes,  a  student 
of  Cheshunt  College,  who  had  already  exercised  a  three 
months'  ministry  with  much  acceptance,  was  by  a 
unanimous  vote  invited  to  become  the  first  pastor. 
He  was  ordained  on  November  27,  1833,  Revs.  James 
Stratton,  George  Clayton,  Andrew  Reed,  and  George 
Rose  taking  part  in  the  service.  The  spacious  chapel 
was  filled  to  excess,  and  no  less  than  fifty  ministers 
were  present. 

Mr.  Hughes  was  not  long  spared  to  minister  to  his 
people.  As  early  as  the  following  April  a  minute  of 
the  church  records  his  absence  owing  to  very  severe 
indisposition,  and  a  message  is  sent  by  the  church  to 
their  sick  pastor  at  Ponder's  End,  full  of  affection,  and 
praying  that  "  all  sorrows  may,  like  the  flowing  waters 
of  Jordan,  give  way  before  the  Ark."  Margate  was 
tried  for  the  benefit  of  the  sea  air,  but  a  letter  received 
September  4,  1834,  gives  faint  hope  of  his  recovery,  and 
on  the  15th  of  the  same  month  he  passed  to  his  rest. 

Twelve  months  went  by  before  the  church  selected 
a  second  pastor.  Then  a  man  was  chosen  who  was 
destined  in  after  years  to  play  a  prominent  part  in  the 
history  of  Nonconformity  and  as  an  apostle  of  peace. 
Henry  Richard  was  born  on  April  3, 1812,  at  Tregaron, 
a  little  town  in  the  very  heart  of  Wales.  His  father 
was  a  preacher  among  the  Calvinistic  Methodists,  and 
his  mother  a  woman  of  saintly  character.  The  boy 
received  a  good  education  at  a  neighbouring  Grammar 
School,  and  was  subsequently  apprenticed  to  a  draper 
in  Carmarthen.  But  his  desire  early  turned  to  the 
work  of  the  ministry.  He  entered  Highbury  College, 
and  was  soon  regarded  as  an  acceptable  supply.  His 
great  chum  was  David  Thomas,  afterwards  of  Highbury 

h  2 


Chapel,  Bristol.  David  was  very  tall,  Henry  was  not, 
and  their  fellow  students  dubbed  them  David  and 

David  Thomas  seems  to  have  preached  at  Marlborough 
on  probation,  but  was  not  elected  to  the  vacant  pasto- 
rate. A  minute  of  the  church,  July  23,  records  that 
"  Henry  Richard  having  supplied  the  pulpit  with  so 
much  acceptance  it  was  carried  unanimously  that  he 
be  further  invited  for  the  month  of  August  with  a  view 
to  the  pastoral  office."  This  soon  ripened  into  an 
invitation,  and  on  Sunday,  September  20,  1835,  the 
young  minister  began  his  career. 

At  this  time  a  debt  of  £1,800  still  remained  upon  the 
church,  and  seriously  crippled  the  pastor's  work,  and 
not  until  seven  years  later  was  it  finally  cleared  away. 

For  several  years  the  Sunday  school  was  carried  on 
in  the  gallery  over  the  front  entrance.  The  chapel  also 
was  the  only  place  for  week-night  meetings  of  all 
kinds,  and  the  need  of  additional  accommodation  was 
severely  felt.  In  June,  1838,  Mr.  Grafftey  offered  to 
advance  the  money  to  build  a  large  vestry  behind  the 
chapel,  which  might  be  utilised  for  the  school,  the 
money  to  be  repaid  without  interest  by  an  annual 
collection.  The  offer  was  gratefully  accepted,  and  on 
Thursday,  January  10,  1839,  the  new  room,  accommo- 
dating 200,  was  opened. 

Mr.  Richard  had  already  begun  to  take  active  interest 
in  great  national  questions,  and  mainly  to  him  belongs 
the  credit  of  building  the  British  School,  which  stood 
in  Oakley  Place,  Old  Kent  Road.  On  being  superseded 
by  the  London  School  Board  the  building  was  sold, 
and  the  price,  according  to  the  Trust  Deed,  paid  to 
the  British  and  Foreign  School  Society. 

As  a  preacher,  Mr.  Richard  does  not  seem  to  have 

Henkv   Richard.   M.P, 


fulfilled  the  promise  of  his  earlier  years.  In  his  most 
interesting  and  exhaustive  "  History  Notes  of  Marl- 
borough," the  Rev.  W.  A.  Essery  says,  "  He  read  his 
sermons,  and  Marlborough  tradition  is  that  they  were 
long,  argumentative,  prosy  and  dry."  It  became 
increasingly  evident  that  the  platform  was  his  sphere. 
From  the  time  of  his  opposition  to  Sir  James  Graham's 
Factory  Education  Bill  (1843),  he  was  a  prominent 
public  speaker,  especially  as  the  advocate  of  civil  and 
religious  liberty.  Still,  spiritual  work  was  not  neglected, 
and  during  his  ministry  269  members  were  received  into 
church  fellowship. 

In  1848  he  accepted  the  important  post  of  "  Secre- 
tary to  the  Society  for  the  Promotion  of  Permanent  and 
Universal  Peace,"  and  on  May  24,  1850,  resigned  his 
position  as  pastor  of  Marlborough.  Henceforward  as 
journalist,  secretary,  platform  speaker,  and  Member  of 
Parliament,  he  lived  a  life  of  strenuous  toil,  closed  only 
by  his  death  on  August  9,  1888.  He  was  chairman  of 
the  Congregational  Union  of  England  and  Wales  in 

Shortly  after  Mr.  Richard's  retirement,  Rev.  J.  Gage 
Pigg,  B.A.,  of  Wymondham,  was  asked  to  preach,  on 
the  recommendation  of  Rev.  J.  H.  Godwin,  one  of  the 
professors  of  New  College,  and  after  supplying  the 
pulpit  for  three  Sundays  was  unanimously  invited  to 
succeed  Mr.  Richard.  The  records  of  this  pastorate 
are  somewhat  scanty.  Financial  difficulties  seem  to 
have  still  troubled  the  church,  but  several  new  efforts 
were  launched,  and  a  branch  Sunday  school  in  the 
British  Schoolroom  was  started  in  January,  1856. 
Tradition  speaks  of  Mr.  Pigg  as  "  a  man  reticent, 
refined,  tender  of  heart,  but  he  had  not  the  gift  of 
carrying  away  an  audience  by  his  own  burning  fervour, 


nor  of  skilfully  ruling  a  meeting.  He  was  a  gentle, 
good  man,  whose  charming  character  attracted  private 
friendship,  but  the  talent  of  organisation  and  leadership 
had  not  been  entrusted  to  him." 

About  Christmas,  1858,  Mr.  Pigg's  health  failed. 
Although  he  spent  some  months  at  the  seaside,  recovery 
was  seen  to  be  hopeless.  On  December  5,  i860,  he 
passed  away. 

In  June,  i860,  Mr.  W.  A.  Essery,  a  student  of 
Cheshunt  College,  preached  as  a  supply.  Mr.  Pigg 
was  ill  at  the  time,  and  the  church  needed  its  pulpit 
filled  for  some  months.  Mr.  Essery  was  appreciated 
so  much  that  he  was  asked  to  preach  for  twelve  Sun- 
days out  of  the  thirteen  in  the  summer  vacation.  The 
engagement  proved  a  great  success,  the  chapel  was 
crowded,  and  when  in  December  Mr.  Pigg  died  the 
church  unanimously  called  Mr.  Essery  to  the  vacant 

Mr.  Essery  was  born  in  the  ancient  city  of  Bristol. 
His  parents  were  Wesleyans,  and  he  was  brought  up 
amid  the  influences  of  that  body,  amongst  whom  he 
began  to  preach  when  only  seventeen  years  old.  But 
in  the  year  1849,  siding  with  the  Reformers  in  Methodism 
he  left  the  Society  and  joined  the  Independents.  The 
Bristol  Itinerant  Society  gave  him  full  scope  for  his 
power  as  a  preacher  in  the  surrounding  villages  ;  and 
in  October,  1856,  he  entered  Cheshunt  College. 

A  notable  ministry  followed  Mr.  Essery's  settlement 
at  Marlborough.  One  of  his  first  efforts  was  to  improve 
the  psalmody  of  the  church.  In  i860  the  sum  of 
£400  was  spent  upon  chapel  improvements,  and  in 
1861  it  was  resolved  to  build  new  schoolrooms  for  the 
work  in  Oakley  Place.  On  July  16,  1863,  the  memorial 
stones  of  the  new  buildings  were  laid  by  Mr.  Samuel 


Morley.      The    schools    were    opened     the    following 
November,  and  soon  the  entire  cost  was  raised. 

In  July,  1871,  the  leases  of  Marlborough  Chapel  and 
some  adjoining  property  were  put  up  to  auction  and 
purchased  by  the  church.  Some  years  later  an  attempt 
was  made  to  purchase  the  freehold.  A  committee  was 
appointed  to  carry  forward  the  enterprise,  and  a  con- 
siderable sum  was  raised,  when  it  was  found  that 
the  Corporation  of  London,  with  all  others,  was 
prohibited  by  law  from  selling  sites  for  Nonconformist 
places  of  worship.  The  only  solution  was  to  alter 
the  law.  Mr.  Essery  determined,  with  his  usual 
thoroughness,  to  bring  this  about ;  and  assisted  by 
Mr.  Henry  Richard,  M.P.,  the  former  pastor,  he  suc- 
ceeded in  1883  in  obtaining  an  Act  which  empowered 
corporations  and  others  to  grant  sites  for  places  of 
worship,  residences  for  ministers,  and  burial  grounds. 
The  work  now  proceeded  with  vigour,  and  by  the  end 
of  the  year  1883  the  Freehold  Site  Fund  stood  at 
£2,203  4s-  llcl- 

Meanwhile  the  strain  of  work  had  told  upon  the 
pastor's  health.  In  1879  he  broke  down  and  passed 
the  spring  and  early  summer  in  retirement.  Another 
breakdown  occurred  in  1880  which  led  the  church 
to  invite  the  Rev.  W.  Tubb,  from  Sheerness,  to  the 
co-pastorate.  In  that  year  Mr.  Essery  took  another 
prolonged  rest,  and  in  1881  went  for  a  tour  in  Ceylon. 
But  his  health  still  continuing  unsatisfactory  he  resigned 
his  charge  at  the  end  of  1883.  Mr.  Tubb's  ministry 
ended  at  the  same  time.  He  is  described  as  a  man 
of  sound  experience,  genial  temper,  willing  zeal,  and 
sympathetic  heart. 

Six  years  after  his  retirement,  on  November  21, 1889, 
Mr.  Essery  presided  over  a  meeting  to  celebrate  the 


purchase  and  enfranchisement  of  Marlborough  Chapel. 
This  had  been  effected  at  a  cost  of  £"2,000. 

In  1893  Mr.  Essery  offered  his  services  to  the  Com- 
mittee of  the  Bible  Lands  Missions  Aid  Society  as 
secretary.  This  position  he  held  till  his  death.  The 
Society  had  sunk  to  a  low  ebb,  but  his  earnest  labours 
soon  restored  it  to  a  condition  of  great  efficiency. 

His  death  was  tragic  in  its  suddenness.  On  Feb- 
ruary 28,  1904,  he  had  been  to  visit  a  dear  and  intimate 
friend,  Rev.  D.  A.  Herschell,  and  on  returning  home 
suddenly  expired  on  Vauxhall  railway  platform. 

Mr.  Essery  was  followed  by  Rev.  H.  E.  Arkell,  from 
Luton.  He  commenced  his  pastorate  on  July  13, 
1884,  and  remained  till  189 1,  when  he  removed  to 

In  1892  Rev.  J.  Wilkins  became  pastor.  He  con- 
tinued till  1900,  when  he  accepted  the  call  of  a  church 
at  Auckland,  New  Zealand  ;  this  charge  he  has  lately 
resigned,  to  return  to  England. 

The  following  year  the  church  invited  Rev.  R.  Bond 
Thomas,  a  student  of  New  College.  After  five  years 
of  useful  service  Mr.  Thomas  removed  to  Pembroke 
Dock.  He  was  succeeded  in  1907  by  Rev.  G.  O. 
Bainton,  from  Blackpool,  the  present  minister. 



This   chapel  was    built    for    Dr.    Edward   Andrews, 
who,  however,  never  lived  to  see  it  opened. 

Dr.  Andrews  was  in  his  day  one  of  the  most  popular 


preachers  in  London.  He  first  appeared  as  a  candi- 
date for  the  pulpit  of  Camden  Chapel,  Camberwell, 
where  his  preaching  excited  extraordinary  interest. 
The  congregation  desired  him  for  their  pastor,  but 
their  choice  was  vetoed  by  the  trustees.  Some  of  the 
people,  however,  refused  to  abide  by  the  decision,  and 
rallying  round  Dr.  Andrews,  built  for  him  Beresford 
Chapel,  Walworth. 

Here  his  popularity  was  so  great  that  the  chapel 
soon  became  too  small  for  the  crowds  that  flocked 
to  hear  him.  It  was  enlarged  and  adorned  at  a  heavy 
cost,  and  in  a  manner  far  beyond  what  was  usual 
in  Nonconformist  buildings  of  that  period.  No  collec- 
tion or  appeal  was  made ;  part  of  the  money  was  paid 
by  Dr.  Andrews  himself,  but  a  large  amount  was 
borrowed  on  mortgage  and  subsequently  led  to  serious 
embarrassment.  Ultimately  the  doors  were  closed 
against  him  by  order  of  the  mortgagee,  and  the  church 
worshipped  for  some  months  in  the  large  assembly 
room  of  the  Montpelier  Tavern,  until  the  new  Suther- 
land Chapel  was  built.  Before  it  could  be  opened, 
however,  Dr.  Andrews  died,  leaving  the  church  in  an 
exceedingly  difficult  position. 

Dr.  Andrews  was  not  only  a  popular  preacher,  but 
a  man  of  considerable  ability  in  many  directions,  as 
poet,  musician,  linguist  and  dramatist.  He  was  con- 
sidered one  of  the  first  Greek  scholars  of  the  day, 
and  is  said  to  have  derived  an  income  of  £"1,000  a  year 
from  teaching  the  sons  of  the  nobility. 

His  preaching  was  of  the  ornate  style  common  in 
those  days.  Amongst  those  who  listened  to  his  flowing 
periods  was  John  Ruskin,  and  Coventry  Patmore's 
"Angel  in  the  House"  is  said  to  have  been  his 
daughter.     But  like   many  men  of  genius,  he  was  far 


from    practical,   and    his  simplicity  in  money   matters 
led  to  many  a  difficulty. 

Dr.  Andrews  died  suddenly  on  October  ig,  1841. 
His  funeral  took  place  at  Norwood  Cemetery  on 
Tuesday,  October  26,  and  was  largely  attended. 

The  following  Sunday  Beresford  Chapel  was  open  to 
his  congregation  for  the  last  time.  The  mortgagee,  Mrs. 
Kirwain,  kindly  permitted  its  use  that  funeral  sermons 
might  be  preached  for  the  man  who  had  built  it. 

Meanwhile  the  new  chapel  in  Walworth  Road  went 
slowly  on  to  completion,  and  on  March  15,  1842,  was 
opened  for  public  worship.  It  obtained  its  name 
"  Sutherland "  doubtless  from  the  ducal  family  who 
owned  so  much  of  the  property  around. 

The  first  minister  was  Rev.  John  Wood,  of  Malvern. 
Mr.  Wood  had  spent  fifteen  years  in  that  beautiful 
town,  leaving  with  the  love  and  affection  of  his  people. 
Unfortunately  the  same  experience  did  not  follow  at 
Sutherland.  At  first  things  went  happily  enough,  but 
by  and  by  trouble  arose  which  culminated  in  a  very 
peculiar  proceeding.  One  Sunday  in  1846  the  pastor 
announced  to  the  congregation  that  in  future  all  pew 
rents  must  be  paid  to  one  of  the  deacons  instead  of 
to  the  trustees  as  before.  Whereupon  the  clerk  or 
precentor,  who  sat  just  under  the  pulpit  and  was 
a  trustee,  intimated  that  it  would  be  well  to  follow  the 
old  practice.  The  following  Sunday  the  worshippers 
found  wooden  barriers  erected  across  the  chapel  and 
men  in  charge  who  would  allow  none  to  pass  till  they 
had  shown  their  pew  rent  receipts  for  the  current 
quarter.  Of  course  the  minister  resigned.  With  a 
number  of  his  people  he  migrated  to  Penrose  Street 
(formerly  West  Street),  where  the  pulpit  was  vacant, 
and  ministered  there  happily  for  several  years. 


He  seems,  however,  to  have  always  regretted  leaving 
Malvern,  and  at  length  returned  thither.  He  finally 
retired  to  Bath,  where  he  died  in  1866,  aged  seventy-one. 
He  is  spoken  of  as  a  close  and  earnest  student,  though 
somewhat  heavy  as  a  preacher,  a  spiritually-minded 
man,  affectionate  and  beloved. 

The  next  pastor  at  Sutherland  was  the  Rev.  Hugh 
Sanderson  Seaborne,  who  had  previously  been  minister 
of  a  church  at  Soho.  He  was  a  candidate  for  the 
pulpit  when  the  church  was  first  opened  and  many 
were  drawn  to  him  then.  He  took  charge  of  the 
church  at  a  troublesome  period,  which  he  safely  tided 
over.  During  his  ministry  the  management  of  affairs 
was  taken  out  of  the  hands  of  the  trustees,  and  one  of 
the  deacons  was  appointed  treasurer,  another  acting 
as  minute  secretary. 

But  further  trouble  was  in  store,  the  exact  nature  of 
which  is  not  clear.  On  September  24,  1855,  Mr.  Sea- 
borne resigned,  and  formed  a  separate  church,  which 
met  in  a  house  directly  opposite  the  chapel.  Upon  his 
retirement  a  resolution  of  sympathy  was  passed  ;  but  at 
a  subsequent  meeting  held  November  1,  1855,  it  was 
formally  rescinded.  Thus  amid  trouble  and  strife 
closed  another  pastorate. 

The  church  does  not  appear  to  have  been  long 
in  finding  another  minister.  On  January  1,  1856, 
Rev.  Edward  Bewlay  succeeded  to  the  vacant  pulpit. 
Mr.  Bewlay  was  born  in  Birmingham  on  January  20, 
1811.  His  parents  were  members  of  the  Church  of 
England.  He  received  his  early  religious  impressions 
among  the  Wesleyans,  with  whom  he  became  a  local 
preacher.  Difference  of  opinion  as  to  doctrine  and 
church  government  led  him  to  throw  in  his  lot  with 
the    Congregationalists,    and     he     entered     Highbury 


College.  Before  coming  to  Walworth  he  had  held  pasto- 
rates at  March  and  Sunderland.  With  his  coming  an 
era  of  prosperity  commenced,  which  lasted  some  years. 

The  secession  cause  did  not  meet  with  great  success. 
By  the  end  of  1857  it  had  become  extinct,  and  several 
of  the  members  had  returned  and  were  re-admitted  into 
fellowship  at  Sutherland. 

At  the  close  of  1858  a  change  was  made  in  the 
government  of  the  church  by  the  appointment  of 
elders  in  the  place  of  deacons.  Four  elders  were 
ordained  to  serve  the  church,  and  in  1862  this  number 
was  increased  to  six. 

The  Sunday  school  of  Sutherland  Chapel  was 
always  a  vigorous  institution.  In  the  first  year  of 
the  church's  history  there  were  104  scholars  on 
the  books,  many  having  come  with  the  church  from 
Beresford  Street.  For  some  years  the  school  met  in 
the  chapel,  until  a  small  room  was  erected  behind  to 
accommodate  the  increasing  number  of  scholars.  This 
at  length  became  insufficient  and  in  January,  1864,  a 
Building  Committee  was  formed  to  arrange  for  the 
erection  of  a  new  schoolroom.  Within  two  years  this 
was  completed  at  a  cost  of  £850. 

Mr.  Bewlay  resigned  his  pastorate  on  November  24, 
1868.  He  opened  a  private  school  at  Brixton,  where  he 
met  with  considerable  success.  After  an  illness  lasting 
several  months  he  passed  to  his  rest,  September  23, 

The  Rev.  Thomas  Jeffreys,  late  of  New  College,  was 
invited  to  fill  the  vacant  pulpit.  Mr.  Jeffreys  had  been 
trained  as  a  schoolmaster  at  Bangor,  but  changing  his 
purpose  in  life  he  went  to  New  College  to  prepare  for 
the  ministry.  He  was  ordained  at  Sutherland  in  1870, 
and    for    four   years   laboured   there  with  acceptance, 


gaining  the  affection  and  esteem  of  all  who  knew  him. 
During  his  pastorate  an  extensive  scheme  of  visitation 
and  tract  distribution  was  carried  out,  the  whole 
neighbourhood  being  mapped  out  into  districts  for  that 

Mr.  Jeffreys  held  the  charge  till  June  29,  1874,  when 
he  accepted  a  call  to  Watling  Street,  Canterbury. 
He  afterwards  removed  to  Stowmarket,  where  he  died 
May  20,  1883,  at  the  early  age  of  thirty-nine. 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  Joseph  Henderson,  of 
Honley,  near  Huddersfield,  who  commenced  his 
ministry  the  first  Sunday  in  March,  1875.  With  his 
advent  came  new  life  and  vigour  to  the  church.  The 
Sutherland  Chapel  District  Mission  was  instituted  with 
Mr.  Coote  as  secretary.  A  room  was  engaged  in 
Chapter  Place,  and  mission  work  was  for  some  time 
energetically  carried  on.  Open-air  preaching  was  also 
commenced  on  Sunday  evenings  in  front  of  the  chapel 
and  carried  on  through  the  summer  of  1876. 

On  March  1,  1877,  the  people  decided  to  alter 
and  renovate  the  chapel  at  a  cost  of  £1,500.  This  was 
done  and  the  building  was  reopened  Sunday,  Novem- 
ber 16,  but  a  heavy  debt  remained. 

After  six  and  a  half  years  of  energetic  work 
Mr.  Henderson  resigned  on  August  8,  1881,  and  was 
succeeded  in  January,  1882,  by  Rev.  C.  Chandler,  who 
had  previously  held  pastorates  at  Chorley,  Marden,  and 
King's  Cross.  During  the  summer  of  this  year  the 
chapel  and  school  was  again  renovated  at  a  cost  of 
£160,  which  was  raised  by  various  means.  Many 
changes  are  recorded  at  this  time,  and  severe  losses 
were  sustained  by  the  removal  of  the  church  secretary,  the 
superintendent  of  the  Sunday  school,  and  other  faithful 
Christian  workers.     In  spite  of  losses  and  increasing 


difficulties  in  the  neighbourhood,  there  was  a  steady 
growth  in  membership.  But  the  chapel  did  not  fill 
and  the  debt   only  increased. 

Much  to  the  regret  of  his  people  Mr.  Chandler,  early 
in  1887,  announced  his  intention  to  accept  the  pastorate 
of  Berkeley  Street  Church,  Liverpool.  In  March  he 
left  with  many  tokens  of  affection  and  esteem.  In  his 
letter  of  resignation  he  gives  th?  financial  difficulties  as 
one  reason  of  his  retirement.  "  Every  year,"  says  he, 
"  we  are  from  £50  to  £60  behind.  That  is  our  present 
position  after  having  exhausted  all  our  means  of  raising 
money.  From  all  that  I  can  see  this  deficit  must  be 
added  to  the  debt  owing  to  the  Treasurer,  and  I  shrink 
from  the  responsibility  of  increasing  that  debt,  which  is 
already  much  too  large." 

It  wanted  some  courage  under  these  circumstances 
for  another  man  to  face  the  situation,  but  that  man  was 
found  in  Rev.  G.  W.  Keesey,  of  Salem  Chapel, 

Mr.  Keesey,  who  was  born  in  Birmingham,  was 
educated  at  Bristol,  and  had  already  proved  his  worth 
in  a  different  sphere  at  Croydon.  He  accepted  the  call 
to  Sutherland,  and  entered  upon  his  work  on  October  2, 
1887.  For  fifteen  years  he  fought  a  courageous  fight 
amid  increasing  difficulties,  assisted  by  his  wife,  who  is 
a  splendid  Christian  worker,  and  a  band  of  devoted 
and  intelligent  helpers.  The  membership  increased, 
and  the  church  soon  became  a  perfect  hive  of  spiritual 
and  social  industry. 

In  1888  Mr.  Vickridge  (a  principal  creditor,  and  one 
of  the  most  earnest  church  workers)  generously 
remitted  £500  from  the  old  debt ;  and  this,  with  some 
special  efforts,  reduced  it  to  £1,000.  In  1891  the  church 
celebrated  its  jubilee,  when  Mr.  Keesey  wrote  a  very 


full  and  interesting  history  of  the  church  from  which 
this  short  record  is  mainly  taken. 

Mr.  Keesey's  energies  were  by  no  means  exclusively 
confined  to  Sutherland.  As  Guardian  of  the  Poor,  and 
Manager  under  the  London  School  Board,  he  rendered 
splendid  local  service,  and  did  much  in  the  general 
interest   of  Congregationalism  in  South  London. 

In  1902,  after  fifteen  years'  exhausting  service, 
Mr.  Keesey  exchanged  his  urban  pastorate  for  a  quieter 
sphere  at  Leigh,  Kent ;  and  was  succeeded  in  June  of 
the  same  year  by  Rev.  S.  J.  Cox,  B.A.,  of  New  College 
(now  of  Bangalore), as  temporary  pastor,  while  awaiting 
an  appointment  in  the  foreign  mission  field.  He 
resigned  his  charge  at  Midsummer,  1903,  and  sub- 
sequently the  pulpit  was  supplied  for  some  time  by  the 
London  Congregational  Union.  But  the  changed 
character  of  the  neighbourhood  rendered  successful 
work  on  the  old  lines  quite  hopeless;  and  efforts  to 
obtain  the  ground  required  for  necessary  improvements 
and  adaptations  were  futile.  In  consequence  the 
building  was  closed  on  October  16,  1904,  and  the 
church  was  dissolved. 



Among  the  churches  enumerated  in  1832  as  "Calvin- 
istic  Methodist  "  is  that  in  Camberwell  Grove,  where 
for  many  years  Joseph  Irons  was  a  popular  preacher. 
The  church  still  flourishes  as  an  illustration  of  ultra- 


Independency,  associated  with  High  Calvinistic  preach- 
ing, but  has  never  been  included  in  any  Congregational 
Union  or  Association. 

On  the  death  of  Mr.  Irons  in  1852  there  was  much 
unrest,  which  issued  in  the  separation  of  above  thirty 
members,  who  fitted  up  for  worship  a  schoolroom 
in  Waterloo  Street.  Here  a  Congregational  Church 
was  formed  on  September  4,  1853,  under  the  presi- 
dency of  Rev.  W.  P.  Tiddy.  The  following  April 
Mr.  Tiddy  accepted  the  pastorate,  and  shortly  after- 
wards the  congregation  removed  to  the  old  Mansion 
House  Chapel,  vacated  by  Rev.  John  Burnet  on  the 
opening  of  his  new  church  in  Wren  Road. 

Mr.  Tiddy  and  his  people,  however,  resolved  to 
erect  a  new  church  for  themselves  in  Camberwell 
New  Road,  which  was  opened  in  October,  1856.  The 
cost  was  £3,600,  the  raising  of  which  was  more  difficult 
because  the  fundamental  principle  had  been  adopted 
of  mutual  tolerance  on  disputed  questions  about  bap- 
tism, which  precluded  aid  from  any  of  the  Chapel 
Building  Societies.  Mr.  Tiddy  had  been  an  agent 
of  the  Bible  Society  on  the  continent,  and  had  for 
some  years  ministered  to  an  English  congregation 
at  Brussels.  While  at  Camberwell  Road  he  still 
laboured  on  behalf  of  the  Society,  and  in  1864  visited 
Portugal,  where  he  printed  the  first  vernacular  edition 
of  the  New  Testament.  He  retired  from  the  pastorate 
in  1884  and  died  on  April  29,  1890,  at  the  age  of 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  W.  Tubb,  previously 
assistant  minister  at  Marlborough  Chapel.  In  1894 
he  removed  to  Odiham,  Hants,  where  he  died  in  1905. 

During  two  years  the  church  was  variously  supplied. 
In   1896  the  pastorate  was  undertaken    by    Rev.    W. 


Le  Pla,  from  Tetsworth,  Oxon.,  who  resigned  in  1899, 
and  the  place  was  closed.  It  is  now  occupied  by  a 
Baptist  congregation. 



In  June,  1855,  a  secession  took  place  from  Midway 
Place  Baptist  Chapel.  A  room  was  hired  in  Paradise 
Row,  in  which  the  seceders  worshipped  for  a  few 
months  and  then  removed  to  another  room  near  the 
"  Red  Lion  "  Inn.  Rev.  C.  C.  Smith  was  called  to  the 
pastorate,  and  on  June  18, 1857,  John  Locke,  Esq.,  M.P. 
laid  the  first  stone  of  a  chapel  in  Maynard  Road,  which 
was  opened  on  September  20  following. 

Mr.  Smith  resigned  in  November,  1862,  and  after 
a  short  experience  of  various  supplies,  the  services 
of  Hackney  students  were  enlisted.  The  building, 
which  seated  260,  was  encumbered  with  debt,  but 
there  seemed  a  promising  field  for  Christian  service, 
and  aid  was  promised  by  the  Surrey  Union.  Rev. 
D.  B.  Morris,  from  Glasgow  University,  accepted  the 
pastoral  charge,  and  was  ordained  November  8,  1864. 
He  only  remained  till  1866,  and  was  succeeded  in 
1867  by  Rev.  Pierce  Jones,  from  Paignton.  He  minis- 
tered here  till  1876,  when  he  proceeded  to  Hong  Kong 
as  an  agent  of  the  London  Missionary  Society.  The 
next  pastor  was  Rev.  A.  E.  Harbourn,  who  came  the 
same  year  from  Caistor,  and  in  1880  removed  to 
Finsbury  Chapel.  Then  in  1881  came  Rev.  J.  H. 
Ridette,  from  Burslem,  who  after  two  years  accepted 



a  call  to  Crescent  Chapel,  Liverpool.  Rev.  J. 
Holway,  M.A.,  from  America,  followed  from  1883  to 
1886,  and  after  his  departure  there  was  a  vacancy 
for  two  years.  From  1888  to  1891  Mr.  J.  Grinyear 
occupied  the  pulpit  as  "  lay-pastor,"  then  in  1892  and 
1893  the  report  is  "  supplied."  Another  "  lay  pastor," 
Mr.  E.  Philips,  appears  from  1894  to  1896,  since  when 
the  uniform  record  is  "  supplied." 



The  founding  of  this  church  is  due  to  the  exertions 
of  the  Rev.  T.  C.  Hine,  pastor  of  the  Congregational 
Church  at  Sydenham. 

A  few  friends  resident  about  Anerley  and  Penge 
were  called  together  on  June  6,  1855.  Mr.  Hine 
presided,  and  Mr.  Baker  made  a  statement  as  to  the 
need  for  some  Nonconformist  place  of  worship  in  the 
neighbourhood.  A  suitable  site  in  the  Maple  Road 
had  been  offered  by  Mr.  Benjamin  Scott  at  the  cost 
price  of  £120.  A  resolution  was  passed  pledging  the 
meeting  to  secure  the  site  or  some  other  equally 
eligible,  and  Messrs.  Baker,  Base,  Hine,  Hailes,  Stan- 
bourn  and  Thorp  were  appointed  a  committee  to  give 
effect  to  the  same. 

Mr.  Hine  then  approached  the  Chapel  Building 
Society,  and  pointed  out  that  there  were  in  Penge 
and  Beckenham  2,500  persons  without  any  religious 
accommodation.  The  society  at  first  declined  to  help, 
on  the  ground  that  there  was  no  prospect  of  sufficient 


population  for  some  years  to  come,  but  in  the  following 
October  a  grant  of  £200  was  recommended. 

A  small  chapel  was  built  and  opened  October  7, 1856. 
The  area  is  now  contained  within  the  pillars  of  the 
lecture  hall.  It  accommodated  200  worshippers,  and 
cost  £1,100. 

The  following  year  a  fellowship  was  formed,  under 
the  presidency  of  Rev.  T.  C.  Hine.  It  consisted  of 
twenty-one  persons,  mostly  transferred  from  his  own 
church.  A  committee  of  ten  was  appointed  to  manage 
the  affairs  of  the  newly  formed  society.  They  held 
office  until  November,  1861,  when  three  deacons — 
Messrs.  Charlton,  Harbridge,  and  Stevenson — were 
chosen.  For  some  years  the  pulpit  was  occupied  by 
various  ministers  from  London.  Amongst  these  was 
Dr.  Massie,  the  well-known  secretary  of  the  Home 
Missionary  Society.  His  services  extended  over  twelve 
months,  terminating  in  January,  i860. 

The  first  settled  minister  was  Rev.  W.  Hickman  Smith 
(now  W.  H.  Smith  Aubrey,  D.D.),  previously  pastor  of 
the  church  at  Sheerness,  who  commenced  his  ministry 
on  June  1,  1862.  Mr.  Smith's  labours  at  Anerley  ter- 
minated in  1866.  Since  then  he  has  held  the  pastorates 
at  Wimbledon,  Thornton  Heath,  and  Collier's  Rents. 
He  served  the  Surrey  Union  as  secretary  from  1872  to 

In  January,  1867,  an  invitation  was  given  to  Mr. 
Joseph  Halsey,  a  student  in  Hackney  College.  He 
commenced  his  ministry  on  August  4,  and  was  ordained 
October  3.  Amongst  those  who  took  part  in  the  service 
were  Revs.  Dr.  Spence,  A.  Mackennal,  S.  McAll,  and 
John  Kennedy. 

In  1868  additions  were  made  to  the  premises.  An 
infant  classroom  was  built,  and  the  church  considerably 

1  2 


enlarged.  The  two  undertakings  cost  £1,500,  and  by 
1 87 1  the  debt  was  cleared.  But  so  rapid  was  the 
growth  of  the  congregation  that  by  1874  ^  was  again 
necessary  to  consider  the  question  of  accommoda- 
tion. It  was  decided  to  have  a  new  church,  and  the 
present  building  was  erected. 

On  October  8  the  foundation  stone  was  laid  by 
Mr.  Samuel  Morley,  who  contributed  £500  towards  the 
building  fund.  The  church  was  opened  on  January  20, 
1876.  No  less  than  £800  was  raised  at  the  opening, 
including  the  children's  purses,  which  yielded  nearly 
£100.  The  total  cost  of  church,  vestries,  organ,  etc., 
amounted  to  £16,500,  the  whole  of  which  has  now  been 

Mr.  Halsey  resigned  his  charge  in  1904,  and  removed 
to  Oxted,  where  for  a  short  time  he  took  the  oversight 
of  the  church  in  that  growing  neighbourhood.  He  has 
since  retired  from  the  active  ministry. 

In  1905  the  church  gave  an  invitation  to  Rev.  Hugh 
Wallace,  of  Bristol,  with  Rev.  J.  Warschauer,  M.A., 
Ph.D.,  as  his  co-pastor.  Mr.  Wallace  was  a  student  of 
Harley  College,  and  held  pastorates  at  Burnley  and 
David  Thomas  Memorial  Church,  Bristol ;  and  Dr. 
Warschauer  had  been  pastor  of  the  Unitarian  Church, 
Oakfield  Road,  Clifton. 

The  present  ministers  have  excited  public  attention 
as  exponents  of  theological  views  differing  considerably 
from  those  usually  prevalent  in  Congregational  churches. 
A  secession  took  place  in  1907,  the  prospects  of  which 
it  is  still  too  early  to  estimate. 




In  the  year  1857  a  little  company  of  Christians,  some 
twelve  persons  in  all,  formed  themselves  into  a  church 
in  a  small  proprietary  chapel  in  Portland  Road. 
Afterwards  they  met  in  a  room  in  High  Street,  where 
Mr.  Baker,  of  Anerley,  generally  preached  on  the  first 
Sunday  in  the  month,  and  administered  the  Lord's 
Supper.  This  cause,  however,  only  lasted  for  a  year 
or  two. 

The  present  church  was  formed  in  1870,  and  first 
met  in  the  Public  Hall,  Station  Road,  under  the  pasto- 
rate of  Rev.  A.  H.  New,  who  had  ministered  at 
Leamington,  Barnsbury,  and  other  places.  He  resigned 
in  1872. 

The  work  was  continued  by  Rev.  J.  Corbin  and 
other  supplies  till  1873,  when,  through  the  efforts  of 
Mr.  Joseph  Whittaker  and  Mr.  A.  C.  Collins,  both  of 
whom  had  recently  come  into  the  neighbourhood,  a 
suitable  site  was  obtained  near  Norwood  Junction 
Station,  on  which  a  commodious  iron  church  and 
schoolroom  was  erected  at  a  cost  of  £3,000. 

The  schoolroom  was  completed  in  November,  1873, 
and  services  were  conducted  there  until  the  rest  of  the 
buildings  were  finished.  On  Thursday,  March  12,  1874, 
the  church  was  opened,  and  Rev.  G.  T.  Coster,  late  of 
Hull,  was  recognised  the  same  day  as  pastor.  In 
June,  1878,  Mr.  Coster  resigned,  much  to  the  regret  of 
the  congregation,  and  the  following  January  Rev.  James 
Anderson,  of  Elgin,  N.B.,  was  appointed.    Mr.  Anderson 


held  the  pastorate  till  May,  1882,  when  he  returned  to 
Scotland  as  a  Presbyterian  minister.  On  November  ig 
following,  Rev.  March  Timson,  from  Bradford,  Yorks, 
was  recognised  as  pastor.  Mr.  Timson  successfully 
carried  on  the  work  till  June  24,  1888.  In  May,  1889, 
Rev.  F.  W.  Turner,  who  had  previously  laboured  at 
Ripley  and  Halstead,  accepted  the  charge.  For  over 
eleven  years  he  ministered  to  the  needs  of  the  church, 
earning  much  esteem  not  only  in  the  church,  but 
throughout  the  district,  where  he  acted  as  local  Secre- 
tary of  the  London  Union.  After  leaving  South  Nor- 
wood, he  took  charge  for  a  while  of  the  newly-formed 
church  at  Purley,  and  then  left  England  for  work  in 
British  Guiana,  where  he  died  August  31,  1907.  For 
over  twelve  months  the  church  was  without  a  minister, 
when  by  a  singular  providence  it  secured  as  pastor 
Rev.  Wm.  Henry  Morton,  who  had  previously  held 
charges  in  the  United  States.  His  recognition  service 
was  held  on  January  23,  1902.  Under  Mr.  Morton's 
ministry  the  church  increased  and  progressed  in  every 
direction,  and  the  congregation  has  undertaken  the 
erection  of  a  new  church,  suitable  for  the  needs  of  this 
growing  neighbourhood. 



In  the  year  1851,  the  Rev.  D.  Nimmo,  of  Bolton,  was 
appointed  by  the  Home  Missionary  Society  to  labour 

South  Norwood   Congregational  Church  and  Schools. 


in  Peckham,  a  district  that  had  been  somewhat  over- 
looked. Mr.  Nimmo  was  born  at  Portsmouth  on 
November  23,  1814 ;  he  was,  however,  the  son  of 
Scottish  parents.  His  first  pastorate,  which  he  under- 
took in  1836,  was  at  Bolton,  where  he  remained  thirteen 
years.  So  successful  was  his  ministry  in  that  town, 
that  Dr.  Massie,  then  Secretary  of  the  Home  Missionary 
Society,  urged  him  to  take  up  the  work  in  Peckham. 
He  commenced  in  a  small  hall  in  Arthur  Street,  with  a 
congregation  of  seven  persons,  not  one  of  whom  was 
disposed  to  join  in  the  movement. 

Mr.  Nimmo  was  not  discouraged.  He  gathered 
around  him  a  few  earnest  friends,  and  after  much  con- 
ference and  prayer,  they  determined  to  erect  a  new 
place  of  worship.  Difficulties  beset  their  path  from 
the  commencement.  Another  scheme  of  work  was 
suggested  to  supersede  their  efforts,  and  when  later 
they  applied  for  help  to  an  association  organised  to  pro- 
mote such  objects,  aid  was  refused  on  the  ground  that 
they  had  a  settled  pastor.  Mr.  Nimmo  proposed  that 
this  difficulty  should  be  met  by  his  retirement,  but  the 
Home  Missionary  Society  very  properly  would  not 
hear  of  such  a  course. 

Then  an  offer  of  £300  was  made  on  condition  that 
Mr.  Nimmo  raised  £800.  He  worked  hard  to  do  this, 
but  could  only  reach  £600  ;  and  as  those  who  made 
the  promise  would  not  alter  their  conditions,  the  minister 
resolved  to  go  to  Australia,  and  made  the  needful 

A  meeting  was  called,  and  the  people  were  informed 
of  his  intention.  But  he  had  so  won  the  hearts  of  his 
congregation  that  they  prevailed  upon  him  to  stay,  and 
promised  to  renew  their  efforts  to  reach  the  desired  sum. 

At   length   the  difficulties  were  overcome,  and   the 


foundation  stone  of  the  new  church  was  laid  by  Mr. 
Samuel  Morley  on  April  4,  1859.  The  dedication 
service  followed  on  October  26.  Rev.  Samuel  Martin 
preached  in  the  morning  from  Is.  lxi.  3,  and  Rev.  John 
Graham,  of  Craven  Chapel,  in  the  evening  from 
Matt.  xxv.  21.  The  total  cost  of  the  new  building 
amounted  to  £1,800,  of  which  £1,400  was  secured  by 
the  opening  day.  The  church  accommodated  400  on 
the  ground  floor  and  100  in  the  gallery. 

With  the  opening  of  the  church  the  congregation 
considerably  increased.  Soon  schoolrooms  were 
required,  and  on  Wednesday,  October  23,  1861,  these 
were  opened. 

Mr.  Nimmo  remained  at  Peckham  until  1867,  and 
then  once  more  decided  to  go  to  Australia.  The 
delicate  health  of  his  wife  seems  to  have  determined 
him  on  this  occasion.  At  the  farewell  meeting  on 
November  15,  over  which  Rev.  J.  G.  Rogers  presided, 
a  purse  of  £75  was  presented  to  him  as  a  mark  of  the 
esteem  in  which  he  was  held. 

He  took  the  pastorate  of  Victoria  Parade  Church, 
Melbourne,  where  he  remained  five  years.  In  1872,  he 
returned  to  England,  and  two  years  later  settled  at 
Monmouth,  where  he  also  laboured  five  years.  He 
retired  from  the  ministry  in  1880,  and  died  December 
20,  1898,  at  the  age  of  eighty-four. 

Mr.  Nimmo  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  A.  Buzacott.  He 
was  born  at  Tahiti  on  October  19,  1827.  At  the  age 
of  twelve  years  he  came  to  England,  and  entered  the 
Mission  School  at  Walthamstow.  He  resolved  to 
become  a  missionary,  and  with  that  purpose  in  his 
heart  went  to  Cheshunt,  and  subsequently  to  New 
College.  However,  he  settled  at  Debenham  in  1852, 
and   after  twelve  months'  ministry  there,  removed  to 


Fetter  Lane.  In  June,  1856,  he  was  ordained  at  Long 
Sutton,  in  Lincolnshire,  and  the  next  year  removed  to 
Romford.  After  a  pastorate  of  seven  years,  he  accepted 
a  call  to  Pentonville  Road.  He  came  to  Peckham  in 
1868,  and  laboured  here  till  1877.  During  his  pastorate 
he  held  for  three  years  the  secretaryship  of  the  Surrey 
Congregational  Union.  He  resigned  the  charge  at 
Peckham  to  become  secretary  of  the  Anti-Slavery 
Society.     He  died  October  9,  1881. 

Mr.  Buzacott  was  followed  by  Rev.  H.  J.  Perkins,  a 
student  of  Hackney  College.  His  ordination  took  place 
on  November  13,  1877,  when  Professors  G.  Lyon 
Turner,  M.A.,  and  S.  McAll,  with  Revs.  P.  J.  Turquand, 
J.  C.  Postans,  and  G.  B.  Ryley,  took  part. 

During  Mr.  Perkins'  ministry,  new  schools  and  lecture 
hall  were  built.  The  foundation  stone  was  laid  on 
January  25,  1882,  by  Mr.  Evan  Spicer,  and  the  build- 
ings were  opened  on  July  24,  when  Dr.  Monro  Gibson 
preached.  The  cost  was  £1,650,  and,  within  £50,  this 
was  obtained  before  the  opening  day.  An  appeal  was 
made  at  the  meeting  for  the  remainder.  This  was 
readily  responded  to,  and  the  building  declared  open 
and  free  of  debt. 

In  1884  a  mission  hall  was  opened  in  Meeting  House 
Lane,  and  in  the  same  year  it  became  necessary  to 
enlarge  the  church.  The  memorial  stone  of  the  exten- 
sion was  laid  by  Mr.  Evan  Spicer  on  July  2.  Over 
300  new  sittings  were  provided  by  this  enlargement  at 
a  cost  of  £2,400. 

In  1887  the  church  lost  by  death  Mr.  Joseph  Bell, 
who  for  thirty-five  years  had  been  one  of  the  most 
zealous  supporters,  and  for  the  greater  part  of  that  time 
had  served  as  deacon.  A  tablet  was  erected  to  his 


Mr.  Perkins  remained  at  Peckham  until  1895,  when 
he  left  to  undertake  the  pastorate  at  Albion  Church, 
Southampton.  He  held  the  charge  at  Southampton 
till  1903,  when  he  accepted  a  call  to  Tollington  Park, 
where  he  now  labours. 

Rev.  Allan  D.  Jeffery  was  the  next  minister.  He 
was  educated  for  the  ministry  at  the  Yorkshire  United 
College,  and  had  been  for  four  years  minister  at  Bath 
Lane,  Newcastle-on-Tyne.  He  commenced  his  ministry 
at  Peckham  on  Sunday,  December  1,  1895,  and  a 
meeting  was  held  to  welcome  him  the  following  day. 
During  his  pastorate  the  church  was  renovated  and  a 
new  organ  installed,  at  a  cost  of  nearly  £900. 

On  April  3,  1899,  there  passed  away  Mr.  W.  H. 
Elliott,  who  for  nearly  twenty  years  had  acted  as 
church  secretary,  and  who  for  thirty  years  had  been 
superintendent  of  the  Sunday  school. 

On  June  10,  1900,  Mr.  Jeffery  closed  his  ministry  at 
Peckham  to  take  the  oversight  of  Park  Church,  Halifax, 
whence  in  1906  he  removed  to  Haslemere.  At  the  fare- 
well meeting  the  retiring  pastor  received  from  the 
church  many  proofs  of  their  appreciation  of  his  ener- 
getic and  faithful  ministry.  Amongst  those  who  took 
part  was  the  vicar  of  the  neighbouring  established 
church  of  St.  Jude. 

The  church  then  gave  a  hearty  invitation  to  Rev. 
G.  Ernest  Thorn,  of  Edmonton. 

Mr.  Thorn  received  his  ministerial  training  at 
Hackney  College.  His  first  charge  was  at  Horsley- 
down,  which  he  held  from  1888  to  1891,  after  which  he 
did  good  service  at  Edmonton  for  nine  years;  being 
widely  known  not  only  as  a  preacher,  but  also  as  a 
temperance  advocate  of  great  originality  and  power. 
He  still  holds  the  pastorate  at  Clifton,  and  in  addition 


carries  on  an  earnest  evangelistic  work  on  unconventional 
lines.  He  at  first  held  meetings,  after  the  usual  Sunday 
evening  service,  in  the  Town  Hall,  which  soon  proved 
too  small  to  accommodate  his  hearers.  In  January, 
1901,  the  Crown  Theatre  was  taken ;  and  ever  since 
that  huge  building  has  been  filled,  Sunday  after  Sunday, 
with  eager  listeners  to  the  story  of  the  love  of  God  in 
Jesus  Christ. 



With  the  rapid  growth  of  London  in  this  direction, 
the  need  was  felt  for  a  Congregational  church,  and  in 
1856  a  site  was  obtained  by  the  London  Chapel  Build- 
ing Society  in  the  Cemetery  Road,  now  called  Linden 
Grove.  Within  a  few  months  a  beautiful  Gothic 
design  was  selected  by  the  committee,  and  the  building 

On  May  5,  1857,  the  church  was  opened,  Rev.  James 
Sherman  being  the  preacher.  The  entire  cost  was 
£2,550,  and  accommodation  was  provided  for  450 

Shortly  after  the  opening,  an  invitation  was  given  to 
Rev.  J.  Hiles  Hitchens,  a  student  of  Western  College, 
to  take  the  oversight  of  the  newly  formed  church.  He 
was  set  apart  to  the  work  on  March  31,  1858,  Revs. 
R.  W.  Betts,  James  Sherman,  and  others  assisting  in  the 

Mr.  Hitchens  was  a  native  of  Bath,  where  he  was 


born  August  13,  1835.  He  engaged  in  Christian  work 
at  an  early  age,  and  his  preaching  power  led  friends  to 
advise  him  to  enter  the  ministry.  He  went  to  Western 
College  at  the  age  of  eighteen,  and  remained  there  four 

His  early  years  at  Linden  Grove  were  beset  with 
difficulties,  owing  to  the  instability  of  some  adherents 
who  wavered  under  the  trials  incident  to  a  new  enter- 
prise. These  difficulties,  however,  were  soon  surmounted, 
and  Mr.  Hitchens  speedily  met  with  appreciation,  and 
became  widely  known,  not  only  for  his  preaching,  but 
also  as  a  lecturer.  His  historical  and  biographical 
lectures  drew  large  audiences  in  London  and  the  pro- 
vinces. In  1863  he  was  elected  Fellow  of  the  Royal 
Society  of  Literature;  and  some  years  later  received  the 
degree  of  D.D.  from  Adrian  College,  Michigan,  U.S.A. 

In  1863  a  new  lecture  hall  and  schoolroom  was  built. 
Two  years  later  Mr.  Hitchens  accepted  an  invitation  to 
Luton,  where  he  remained  till  1871,  when  he  returned 
to  London  to  take  charge  of  the  church  at  Eccleston 
Square.  Here  he  laboured  until  his  death  December  21, 

On  Mr.  Hitchens'  removal,  in  1865,  the  church 
invited  Rev.  Louis  Herschell  to  the  vacant  pastorate. 
Mr.  Herschell  was  born  at  Strzelno,  Prussia,  on 
June  26,  1821.  He  was  the  son  of  distinguished  Jewish 
parents,  his  mother  being  a  daughter  of  Rabbi  Hillel. 
Of  her  eight  sons  five  embraced  Christianity.  Early  in 
life  Mr.  Herschell  came  to  England,  and  was  converted 
through  the  instrumentality  of  his  brother.  He  held 
pastorates  at  Ware,  Horsham  and  New  North  Road. 
He  remained  at  Linden  Grove  till  1871,  when  under 
medical  advice  he  resigned  to  take  a  period  of  rest.  He 
afterwards  became  Deputation  Agent  to  the  Society  for 

J.  C.  Postans,  Linden  Grove,  Peckham. 


the  Propagation  of  the  Gospel  among  the  Jews,  which 
post  he  held  for  sixteen  years.  He  died  January  n, 
1890,  aged  sixty-nine.  Rev.  John  Chetwode  Postans 
was  the  next  minister.  He  was  born  at  Leamington  on 
October  15,  1833.  Early  in  life  he  was  connected  with 
the  Established  Church,  to  which  all  his  kindred 
belonged.  For  some  years  he  acted  as  lay  reader  at 
Aston,  Birmingham,  intending  to  take  orders.  But  his 
attachment  to  the  Episcopal  Church  weakened,  and  he 
became  a  member  of  Carr's  Lane  Church  under  Rev. 
John  Angell  James.  His  first  pastorate  was  at  Old- 
bury,  Staffs,  where  he  remained  two  years.  In  1862 
he  was  invited  to  Kingsbridge,  Devon,  where  he 
ministered  six  years.  Then  he  removed  to  Sid  mouth 
in  the  same  county,  and  in  1872  accepted  the  invitation 
to  Linden  Grove.  Here  for  nearly  thirty  years  he 
exercised  a  faithful  ministry.  During  these  years  the 
chapel  was  enlarged  and  improved  in  1876 ;  new 
schoolrooms  built  in  1878 ;  and  six  years  later  a  mis- 
sion hall  was  opened  in  the  Evelina  Road,  Nunhead. 
In  1892  this  gave  place  to  a  mission  chapel  in  How- 
bury  Road — a  working-class  district  in  the  neighbour- 
hood. Evangelistic,  temperance,  and  social  work  has 
ever  since  been  carried  on  with  very  fluctuating  success. 
The  building  has  lately  been  put  in  trust,  but  is  heavily 
burdened  with  debt. 

Mr.  Postans  was  ever  a  brother  beloved,  a  man  of 
gentle  spirit,  and  deeply  spiritual  life.  In  September 
1901,  failing  health  compelled  him  to  resign  the 
pastorate,  and  his  few  remaining  years  were  spent  in 
the  neighbourhood  where  his  life's  work  was  done. 
The  love  and  gratitude  of  his  people  found  some  expres- 
sion at  his  retirement,  in  a  presentation  of  300  guineas. 
He  passed  to  his  rest  Sunday,  September  3,  1905. 


On  Mr.  Postans'  retirement  an  invitation  was  given 
to  Rev.  C.  Escritt,  who  had  ministered  in  South  Africa 
in  connection  with  the  Wesleyan  Church.  He  was  an 
attractive  preacher ;  but  from  various  causes  the  settle- 
ment was  not  happy,  and  in  May,  1906,  Mr.  Escritt 
removed  to  the  North  of  England.  After  eighteen 
months'  vacancy  the  pastorate  was  undertaken  by 
Rev.  J.J.  Matson  Hillary,  from  Hackney  College.  His 
ordination  took  place  on  November  7,  1907  ;  Rev. 
Geo.  Hooper,  President  of  the  Local  Free  Church 
Council,  Dr.  P.  T.  Forsyth,  Dr.  W.  H.  Bennett, 
Professor  H.  T.  Andrews,  and  other  ministers  taking 
part  in  the  service.  The  prospects  of  the  church  are 
more  hopeful  than  for  several  years  past. 



In  the  year  1800,  the  Greenland  Dock  was  situated 
by  the  Thames  at  Rotherhithe  and  was  used  by  the 
fleet  engaged  in  the  Greenland  whale  fishery.  Even  at 
that  early  date  the  district  was  populous,  and  many  men 
of  substance  had  their  houses  in  the  neighbourhood.  To 
meet  the  need  of  this  population  a  chapel,  called  Green- 
land Independent  Chapel,  was  built  in  1811. 

In  course  of  time  the  Greenland  Dock  was 
absorbed  in  the  larger  Commercial  Dock,  and  the  name 
of  the  chapel  was  changed  into  the  Commercial  Dock 
Chapel.  It  was  a  small  building,  with  seating  accom- 
modation for  300  people ;  but  the  congregation  was 
able  to  sustain  a  minister,  and  here  for  many  years 
laboured  Rev.  Thomas  Muscutt. 


Mr.  Muscutt  was  born  in  1787,  and  trained  at 
Hackney  College,  which  he  entered  in  1816.  His  first 
charge  was  at  East  Bergholt,  in  Suffolk.  After  seven- 
teen months'  service  there,  he  accepted  an  invitation  to 
Commercial  Dock  Chapel,  where  he  remained  till 
1857,  living  afterward  in  retirement  with  his  son  at 
Deptford.  He  was  an  ardent  supporter  of  the  British 
and  Foreign  Bible  Society  almost  from  the  commence- 
ment of  its  history ;  and  was  able  to  retain  the  local 
secretaryship  till  his  death,  which  occurred  in  May, 
1873,  at  the  age  of  eighty-six. 

By  the  close  of  Mr.  Muscutt's  ministry  the  neigh- 
bourhood had  greatly  changed,  and  in  spite  of  strenuous 
efforts   the    little  church    had  become  almost  extinct. 

In  1872,  Dr.  F.  A.  Billing  undertook  the  oversight 
for  several  months,  and  with  such  success  that  he 
remained  as  honorary  pastor.  The  building  was 
repaired,  a  mortgage  paid  off,  and  two  houses  which  hid 
the  chapel  from  view  were  pulled  down. 

The  congregation  had  considerably  increased,  when  a 
chapel,  which  had  been  built  a  few  years  before  for  the 
Baptists,  was  offered  for  sale.  Acting  on  the  advice  of 
many  friends,  and  by  the  unanimous  desire  of  the  church, 
the  chapel  was  bought ;  the  old  building  being  sold, 
for  a  third  of  the  cost  required,  to  a  society  that  carried 
on  a  mission  among  seamen.  The  remainder  of  the 
money  was  advanced  by  Dr.  Billing,  and  James  Godwin, 
one  of  the  deacons.  After  some  alterations  the  new 
chapel  was  opened  in  January,  1874,  as  the  Southwark 
Park  Congregational  Church,  a  debt  of  £1,400  remain- 
ing. Here  Dr.  Billing  laboured  for  over  thirty  years, 
giving  his  services  without  stipend.  At  the  close 
of  1880,  the  entire  debt  was  liquidated,  without  the 
grant  of  a  shilling  from  any  Congregational  institution 


In  1883,  it  was  decided  to  enlarge  the  chapel,  and 
build  a  much-needed  schoolroom  with  class  rooms  and 
vestry  on  the  vacant  ground  by  the  side.  These  addi- 
tions cost  £"2,500,  of  which  £1,700  has  been  met.  But 
for  years  the  health  of  the  pastor  has  been  very  pre- 
carious, and  in  1906  he  felt  constrained  on  that  account 
to  retire. 

The  pulpit  is  now  occupied  by  Mr.  H.  F.  Morris. 



The  work  here  was  commenced  in  1862  by  a  Mr. 
Brown,  who  had  recently  come  to  reside  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood. We  are  told  that  a  church  was  formed  at 
Hope  Villas,  Dagnall  Park. 

The  following  year  a  small  wooden  building  was 
opened  for  worship,  and  here  services  were  conducted 
for  four  years.  On  Mr.  Brown's  removal  the  move- 
ment seemed  likely  to  collapse,  but  Rev.  J.  Wager  came 
forward,  and  with  much  self-sacrifice  devoted  his 
energies  and  property  to  preserve  it.  Almost  on  his 
own  responsibility,  he  undertook  the  erection  of  a  new 

Financial  difficulties,  however,  proved  too  heavy,  and 
the  London  Chapel  Building  Society  stepped  in.  A 
local  committee  was  formed  and  many  promises  of 
help  obtained,  Mr.  Samuel  Morley  coming  forward  with 
a  generous  donation  of  £500. 

The  foundation  stone  was  laid  on  October  9,  1865, 


by  E.  W.  Madams,  Esq. ;  the  Right  Hon.  Lord  Teynham 
and  others  took  part  in  the  ceremony.  The  church 
was  opened  on  August  29,  1867,  with  sermons  by  Rev. 
S.  Martin  and  Dr.  George  Smith.  The  cost  of  the 
church,  which  would  accommodate  460  people,  was 
£2,500,  exclusive  of  the  site. 

Mr.  Wager  continued  in  the  pastorate  till  1868,  when 
he  removed  to  Hereford.  The  church  then  invited  the 
Rev.  N.  T.  Langridge,  who  remained  till  1872,  and  was 
succeeded  the  following  year  by  Rev.  Elvery  Dothie, 
B.A.  Mr.  Dothie  was  born  at  Ipswich,  November  19, 
1836.  In  1858  he  entered  New  College,  and  in  1863 
was  ordained  to  the  pastorate  at  Highbury  Chapel, 
Portsmouth.  He  removed  from  thence  to  Lancaster, 
from  which  place  he  was  called  to  Selhurst.  During 
Mr.  Dothie's  pastorate,  the  building  underwent  renova- 
tion and  extensive  alteration.  The  re-opening  took 
place  on  August  29,  1875.  His  ministry  at  Selhurst 
lasted  till  1876.  His  last  pastorate  was  at  Wolver- 
hampton. After  this  he  was  on  the  staff  of  the  Daily 
Telegraph  at  Greenock,  and  subsequently  conducted  a 
newspaper  at  Brighton,  though  constantly  engaged  in 
preaching.     He  passed  to  his  rest  December  2,  1897. 

Mr.  G.  A.  Brock,  B.A.,  a  student  of  Cheshunt,  was 
then  invited  to  the  pastorate.  He  commenced  his 
ministry  on  September  22,  1878,  and  remained  till 

During  Mr.  Brock's  ministry,  the  schools,  classroom, 
and  vestry  were  built  at  a  cost  of  £2,200.  The  memorial 
stones  were  laid  on  Saturday,  June  4,  1887,  by  Horace  B. 
Marshall,  Esq.,  J. P.,  of  Croydon.  The  proceeds  of  the 
day  amounted  to  £282. 

In  1892  Mr.  Brock  accepted  an  invitation  to 
Waterloo  Church,  Liverpool,  where  he  still  labours. 



He  was  succeeded,  early  in  1893,  by  the  present 
minister,  Rev.  Arthur  George  Bridge.  Mr.  Bridge  had 
been  trained  for  the  ministry  at  Cheshunt,  and  had  for 
twelve  months  held  the  charge  of  the  church  at 
St.  Helens,  Lancashire.  In  1898  the  church  was 
re-decorated  and  improved  at  a  cost  of  £400. 




In  the  year  i860  Thornton  Heath  was  a  very  small 
hamlet,  having  no  place  of  worship  in  the  neighbour- 
hood. About  that  time,  Mr.  Matthias  Medwin,  of  Tulse 
Hill,  became  interested  in  the  locality,  and  bought  some 
land  in  Beulah  Road,  upon  which  he  built  a  school- 
house,  sufficient  space  being  left  on  this  land  for  the 
purpose  of  erecting  a  chapel.  He  placed  the  building 
at  the  disposal  of  the  committee  of  the  Surrey  Union 
for  three  years  at  a  nominal  rental  of  a  shilling  per 
annum.  In  this  room  a  children's  day  school  was 
carried  on,  and  subsequently  Sunday  services  were 
commenced  on  January  24,  1866.  The  pulpit  was 
supplied  by  various  ministers  until  the  appointment,  in 
the  same  year,  of  Rev.  Henry  Lee,  from  Daventry,  as 
the  regular  pastor. 

Meanwhile,  Thornton  Heath  continued  to  increase  in 
population ;  and  to  provide  for  its  spiritual  needs  Messrs. 
Edwin  and  Alfred  Davis  erected  the  present  Congrega- 
tional Church  in  Bensham  Road.  The  former  gentleman 
was  the  architect.  The  memorial  stones  were  laid  by 
Mrs.  E.  and  Mrs.  A.  Davis  on  December  11,  1867. 


The  church  (at  first  called  St.  John's)  was  opened  on 
July  31,  1868.  It  is  in  the  early  Gothic  style,  and  will 
seat  500  persons.  Here  Mr.  Lee  conducted  the  services 
for  a  considerable  time  with  fair  success,  after  the  order 
of  the  Established  Church  in  the  morning,  and  of  Non- 
conformists in  the  evening.  This  double  order  of  service 
was  observed,  as  at  that  time  the  parish  church  (St. 
Paul's)  had  not  been  built.  The  Rev.  Henry  Lee  con- 
tinued as  the  minister  of  St.  John's  until  1872,  when  he 
accepted  a  pastorate  at  Roydon.  Shortly  afterwards 
Messrs.  Edwin  and  Alfred  Davis,  who  had  been  among 
the  principal  supporters  of  the  church,  left  the  neigh- 
bourhood. Mr.  Medwin,  however,  still  retained  his 
interest  in  the  locality,  and  he  purchased  the  church 
from  the  former  gentleman  at  a  cost  of  £3,000.  It  was 
Mr.  Medwin's  desire,  however,  that  the  church  should 
be  Congregational,  and  he  offered  the  building  to  the 
congregation  for  £2,000.  In  addition  to  this,  he  offered 
to  contribute  £500,  and  arranged  for  the  conduct  of  the 
services,  making  himself  responsible  for  the  expense 

This  work  was  carried  on,  in  spite  of  many  difficulties, 
until  1875,  when  Rev.  W.  J.  Jupp,  late  of  Exeter,  was 
invited  to  be  the  pastor.  He  commenced  his  ministry 
September  24.  Under  his  guidance,  the  church  was 
reconstituted  at  a  meeting  held  on  November  10, 

In  February,  1876,  a  church  committee  of  seven 
gentlemen  was  formed  to  manage  the  church  affairs. 

In  1878  a  new  organ  was  placed  in  the  church,  and 
the  need  of  a  schoolroom  was  much  felt,  as  it  was 
found  inconvenient  for  the  children  to  meet  in  the 
church.  Mr.  Medwin  again  came  forward  and  pro- 
mised to  add  £25  to  every  £75  raised  by  other  friends 

K  2 


towards  the  cost  of  a  schoolroom.  Prompted  by  this 
generous  offer,  the  matter  was  taken  in  hand,  and  in 
1881  the  school  in  Seneca  Road  was  opened.  The 
church  was  thus  enabled  to  extend  its  work,  and  to 
start  many  useful  auxiliaries. 

In  1890  the  Rev.  W.  J.  Jupp  resigned  the  pastorate 
after  a  ministry  of  nearly  fifteen  years,  during  which 
time  the  influence  of  his  life  and  character  had  made 
for  him  many  friends.  By  the  poorer  members  of  the 
church  he  was  especially  beloved. 

In  April,  1891,  the  Rev.  F.  E.  J.  Bird,  of  Spa  Fields 
Chapel,  Clerkenwell,  was  requested  to  become  minister 
of  the  church.  The  invitation  was  accepted,  and  Mr.  Bird 
commenced  his  ministry  on  June  7,  1891.  His  recogni- 
tion service  took  place  on  October  12,  when  Dr.  Reynolds, 
of  Cheshunt  College  (where  Mr.  Bird  was  trained  for  the 
ministry),  delivered  a  masterly  address  on  the  relation  of 
the  church  to  the  minister. 

At  the  time  when  Mr.  Bird  accepted  the  pastorate, 
the  members  were  very  few,  but  under  his  able  and 
vigorous  leadership  the  church  has  steadily  grown  year 
by  year. 



About  1858  eight  members  were  dismissed  from 
George  Street  to  form  a  church  in  London  Road.  This 
appears  to  have  been  constituted  on  "  Undenomi- 
national "  lines  ;  but  in  1862,  when  Rev.  F.  Stephens 
undertook  the  pastorate,  a  considerable  proportion  of 


the  members  desired  that  it  should  be  remodelled  on 
distinctly  Congregational  principles.  The  Trust  Deed, 
however,  made  this  impracticable ;  and  it  was  resolved 
to  build  a  new  church.  One  friend  promised  £1,000, 
another  £1,000  was  guaranteed  before  the  opening,  the 
Chapel  Building  Society  granted  £500,  and  a  further 
oan  of  the  same  amount,  free  of  interest.  A  con- 
venient site  was  obtained  in  Dingwall  Road  ;  and  on 
September  14,  1863,  the  foundation  stone  was  laid  by 
J.  Abbis,  Esq.,  Alderman  of  the  City  of  London. 

The  total  cost  was  £5,500,  toward  which  Wm. 
Sharp,  Esq.,  contributed  £1,200;  Saml.  Morley,  Esq., 
M.P.,  Mr.  Eusebius  Smith,  of  London,  and  Messrs. 
John  Gray  and  W.  J.  Lewis,  of  Croydon,  gave  sub- 
stantial assistance  ;  and  by  the  day  of  opening  only 
£1,500  remained  to  be  raised. 

The  opening  services  were  held  on  June  8,  1864  ; 
Dr.  John  Stoughton  and  Dr.  Henry  Allon  being  the 
preachers.  A  pleasing  feature  was  the  presence  of 
representatives  of  the  church  at  St.  James's,  Newcastle- 
on-Tyne,  where  Mr.  Stephens  had  formerly  ministered, 
who  came  to  manifest  their  regard  for  their  late  pastor, 
and  to  present  him  with  £100  as  a  token  of  grateful  and 
affectionate  remembrance. 

The  new  building  was  named  "Trinity  Church."  Soon 
after  its  opening  the  persons  who  had  migrated  from 
London  Road,  with  others,  were  duly  constituted  a 
Congregational  Church,  and  Mr.  Stephens  was  formally 
chosen  as  pastor.  He  resigned  the  charge  in  1870,  and 
the  following  year  accepted  a  call  to  Steelhouse  Lane 
Church,  Birmingham,  in  which  city  he  long  rendered 
fruitful  service.  He  is  now  living  in  retirement  at 

Mr,  Stephens  was  followed  by  Rev.  William  Clarkson? 


from  Bideford.  He  was  born  in  Salisbury,  and  was 
brought  up  a  member  of  the  Established  Church.  Early 
in  life  he  adopted  Nonconformist  views,  and  joined 
the  church  at  Orange  Street,  London.  He  entered 
Homerton  College,  and  devoting  himself  to  missionary 
work,  went  to  India.  Here  his  health  broke  down,  and 
he  returned  to  England. 

He  held  pastorates  at  Ipswich  and  Folkestone.  In 
1870  he  accepted  a  hearty  invitation  to  Croydon,  where 
he  remained  for  thirteen  years.  He  wrote  extensively 
on  missions,  and  some  of  his  works  have  had  a  large 

Soon  after  Mr.  Clarkson  began  his  work,  in  1872,  a 
Sunday  School  was  commenced.  A  small  room  in  the 
Leslie  Park  Road  was  taken  for  three  years.  Mr.  J. 
Jewell  was  appointed  superintendent,  and  held  this 
office  for  seventeen  years.  In  1876  the  school  removed 
to  new  and  larger  buildings,  which  had  been  erected  in 
Leslie  Grove,  at  a  cost  of  £1,100. 

In  1873  the  roof  of  the  chapel  showed  signs  of 
collapse.  It  was  decided  to  put  the  building  into 
thorough  repair.  Services  were  held  in  the  Public  Hall, 
and  the  church  was  re-roofed  and  decorated  at  a  cost 
of  £1,200. 

In  1879,  Rev.  John  Brierley,  B.A.,  from  Leytonstone 
(a  student  of  New  College),  was  appointed  assistant- 
pastor.  The  same  year  the  organ  was  removed  from 
the  gallery,  and  the  present  organ,  choir  seats  and 
pulpit  were  erected. 

In  1883  Mr.  Clarkson  resigned,  Mr.  Brierley  having 
previously  accepted  an  invitation  to  Balham. 
Mr.  Clarkson  removed  to  Tunbridge  Wells,  where 
he  died  December  14,   1897. 

Rev.    Herbert    Arnold,    from    Hull   (a    student     of 


Hackney  College),  was  the  next  minister.  He  sus- 
tained the  charge  of  the  church  from  1883  till  1886, 
when  he  removed  to  Lavender  Hill. 

He  was  followed  by  Rev.  J.  Foster  Lepine,  son  of 
Rev.  S.  Lepine,  who  for  fifty  years  was  Congregational 
minister  at  Abingdon.  Mr.  Lepine  had  previously 
been  a  student  at  New  College,  and  had  laboured  for 
many  years  at  Hadleigh,  in  Suffolk.  He  accepted  the 
invitation  to  Croydon  in  1887,  where  he  remained  eight 
years.  During  his  pastorate  the  lecture  hall  and 
church  parlour  were  built,  and  the  church  redecorated, 
involving  an  outlay  of  £1,600.  Mr.  Lepine  carried  on 
an  energetic  ministry;  Choral,  Literary  and  Christian 
Endeavour  Societies  were  formed ;  and  a  great  effort 
was  made  toward  the  evangelisation  of  the  district 
round  Wilford  Road,  a  neighbourhood  which  for  years 
had  earned  an  unenviable  reputation  in  Croydon. 

In  1895  Mr.  Lepine  and  others  conformed  to 
the  Established  Church ;  and  the  following  Easter 
Rev.  Howard  E.  Holmes  (of  New  College),  who  had 
previously  held  pastorates  at  Lenham  (Kent)  and 
Bideford,  was  appointed  minister. 

In  1897  the  "  Pleasant  Sunday  Afternoon"  meetings 
were  commenced ;  and  a  successful  endeavour  was 
made  to  clear  off  the  debt  that  remained  on  the 
church.  Over  £1,200  was  collected,  partly  as  a 
memorial  to  Mrs.  Chambers,  wife  of  the  senior  deacon. 
A  Twentieth  Century  Fund  was  opened  in  1900,  and 
applied  to  various  purposes  in  the  church. 

In  October,  1902,  Mr.  Holmes  resigned.  The 
present  minister,  Rev.  W.  J.  Palmer,  was  trained  at 
Nottingham  Institute.  His  first  charge  was  at  Cran- 
brook.  He  accepted  the  invitation  to  Croydon  in 
1903,  and  soon  initiated  some  vigorous  work, 


After  the  removal  of  Rev.  F.  Stephens,  with  part  of 
the  congregation  from  London  Road  in  1864,  the 
remnant  did  not  immediately  disband,  but — feeling, 
no  doubt,  that  they  had  a  special  mission — called  to 
the  pastorate  Rev.  E.  Waite,  M.A.,  late  of  Leather- 
head.  He  resigned  in  1871,  after  which  we  find  no 
further  record  of  the  society. 



For  nearly  fifty  years  there  was  in  this  part  of 
Croydon  a  preaching  station  connected  with  George 
Street  and  known  as  Broad  Green  Chapel. 

In  1864  Mr.  James  Dryland  generously  gave  a 
valuable  site  at  the  corner  of  the  Campbell  and  London 
Roads.  Here,  aided  by  Mr.  Samuel  Morley,  Mr.  Sar- 
good,  and  the  London  Congregational  Union  with 
some  other  friends,  a  temporary  chapel  and  schoolroom 
was  built,  at  a  cost  of  £1,000.  This  was  opened  on 
Tuesday,  November  14,   1865. 

The  first  pastor  of  the  new  church  was  a  man  whose 
name  will  ever  be  linked  with  the  history  of  Congrega- 
tionalism— Rev.  Alexander  Hannay.  He  was  born  at 
Kirkcudbright  on  February  27,  1822.  Early  in  life  he 
showed  his  natural  talent  for  leadership.  In  boyhood 
he  was  an  ardent  politician,  and  one  of  his  earliest 
recollections  was  standing  upon  a  form,  and  making  a 
speech  in  favour  of  the  Reform  Bill.  He  was  appren- 
ticed to  a  printer  and  publisher,  and  here  gained  an 

Rev.  Alex.  Hannay,  D.D. 


insight  into  business  that  was  of  no  small  value  to  him 
in  after-life. 

Dr.  Hannay  always  regarded  the  day  he  took  the 
temperance  pledge  as  the  turning  point  of  his  life,  and 
attributed  to  that  act  any  service  he  afterwards 
rendered  to  the  cause  of  temperance  and  truth.  He 
received  his  training  at  Glasgow  University  and  the 
Theological  Hall  of  the  Scottish  Congregationalists. 
In  1846  he  took  charge  of  the  Congregational  Church 
at  Princess  Street,  Dundee.  Sixteen  years  later  he 
came  to  London,  to  the  pastorate  of  City  Road  Chapel. 
In  1866  he  accepted  the  call  to  West  Croydon.  His 
exceptional  gifts  of  organisation  and  leadership,  how- 
ever, soon  marked  him  out  for  even  more  important 
work,  and  when  the  secretaryship  of  the  Congregational 
Union  of  England  and  Wales  became  vacant  in  1870, 
he  was  with  one  voice  called  to  that  office. 

The  story  of  his  judicious  conduct  in  that  onerous 
position  does  not  belong  to  these  pages.  He  held  the 
office  till  his  death,  which  occurred  after  a  short  illness 
on  November  12,  1890.  In  the  memoir  from  which 
this  short  notice  is  taken,  it  is  said  of  him,  "  His 
associates  and  helpers  in  the  churches  will  testify  that 
no  braver  man  ever  lived,  that  he  was  their  ready 
counsellor  in  perplexity  and  their  staunch  friend  in 
times  of  difficulty  and  misapprehension." 

Dr.  Hannay  was  succeeded  in  1871  by  Rev.  Thomas 
Gilfillan,  who  for  a  few  years  had  been  a  missionary  in 
China,  and  afterwards  had  held  pastorates  at  Erith 
and  Aberdeen. 

In  1883,  Mr.  Gilfillan  resigned,  and  was  followed  by 
Rev.  J.  P.  Wilson. 

Mr.  Wilson  was  born  at  Beverley,  in  Yorkshire, 
October  1,  1849.     He  received  his  theological  training 


at  Airedale  College,  and  afterwards  settled  at  Bamford, 
Rochdale,  where  he  remained  two  years.  He  subse- 
quently held  charges  at  Huddersfield  and  Bishop's 
Stortford.  In  1884  he  removed  to  West  Croydon. 
Towards  the  close  of  his  ministry  the  present  beautiful 
church  was  built,  the  old  building  being  converted  into 
schoolrooms  for  Sunday  School  work. 

On  Monday,  September  7,  1885,  amid  drenching 
showers,  the  memorial  stones  vvere  laid  by  Sir  Robert 
Fowler,  M.P.,  Lord  Mayor  of  London,  Mr.  John 
Cooper,  Jun.,  Mayor  of  Croydon,  and  Miss  Peacock,  of 
Thornton  Heath.  In  spite  of  the  weather  there  was  a 
large  attendance.  Over £900 was  realized  during  the  day. 

A  brilliant  summer  day  greeted  the  opening  of  the 
church  on  July  6  of  the  following  year.  Dr.  Joseph 
Parker  preached  the  opening  sermon  from  Job  xvii.  15. 
Luncheon  and  an  organ  recital  followed,  and  the 
evening  sermon  was  preached  by  Rev.  G.  S.  Barrett, 
of  Norwich.  The  church  cost  altogether  £16,000,  and 
has  accommodation  for  1,000  people.  With  its  lofty 
tower  and  steeple,  it  is  considered  one  of  the  finest 
churches  in  Surre)^.  One  unusual  feature  is  its  peal 
of  bells  and  chiming  clock.  Its  beautiful  pulpit  of 
Caen  stone  with  shafts  of  Mexican  onyx  was,  with  the 
large  west  window  and  another  window  in  the  south 
aisle,  a  gift  from  the  family  of  the  late  Mr.  P.  A. 
Peacock,  of  Thornton  Heath,  who  for  many  years 
was  a  generous  donor  to  the  funds  of  the  church. 

Mr.  Wilson  was  not  long  spared  to  minister  in  this 
beautiful  sanctuary.  The  darkness  of  mental  derange- 
ment fell  upon  him  at  the  noontide  of  his  life,  and 
continued  till  his  death,  July  13,  1893. 

In  1894,  Rev.  John  Wills,  of  Hanover  Chapel,  Peck- 
ham,  accepted  the  charge.     His  induction  took  place 


in  February,  1S95.  During  Mr.  Wills'  pastorate  the 
debt  on  the  church  was  reduced  to  £"850,  the  member- 
ship increased,  and  the  numerous  agencies  connected 
with  the  church  were  in  a  flourishing  condition. 

Mr.  Wills  removed  to    Southsea   in    1906,  and  the 
pastorate  is  still  vacant. 



On  December  2,  1861,  a  meeting  was  held  at  Westow 
Hill,  under  the  presidency  of  Mr.  Sheriff  Cockerell,  to 
promote  a  Congregational  Church  for  Upper  Norwood. 
At  this  meeting  a  statement  was  made  by  Rev.  B.  Kent, 
of  Lower  Norwood,  that  St.  Aubyns  Church  had  been 
purchased  by  the  London  Congregational  Chapel 
Building  Society.  It  seems  that  the  attention  of  the 
Society  had  been  called  to  the  needs  of  Norwood  by 
Miss  A.  Blower,  who  took  an  active  interest  in  the 

St.  Aubyns  Church  was  originally  the  property  of 
the  Corporation  of  London,  and  had  been  erected  for 
the  use  of  their  training  schools.  It  was  a  spacious 
structure  situated  in  a  central  position,  and  could  easily 
be  adapted  for  the  purpose  of  congregational  worship. 
A  local  committee  was  formed,  and  under  the  direction 
of  the  Chapel  Building  Society,  who  assumed  the  entire 
responsibility,  the  building  was  transformed  into  a  very 
convenient  Congregational  Church.  The  entire  cost, 
with  the  purchase  of  the  freehold,  was  £4,000.  Towards 
this  the  Society  contributed  £500,  with  a  like  sum  lent 


without  interest,  and  local  friends  brought  up  the 
amount  to  nearly  £2,000. 

The  church  was  opened  for  public  worship  on 
October  21,  1862,  when  sermons  were  preached  by 
Rev.  Samuel  Martin  and  Dr.  Spence.  The  entire  con- 
trol was  taken  by  the  Chapel  Building  Society,  who 
appointed  the  preachers. 

The  first  minister,  Rev.  Richard  Lewis,  of  Lowestoft, 
was  appointed  by  the  society.  He  entered  on  his 
work  May  8,  1864,  and  on  November  23,  a  church  of 
nineteen  members  was  formed,  several  of  them  being 
transferred  from  Lower  Norwood.  These  at  once 
heartily  confirmed  the  appointment  of  the  society,  and 
formally  called  Mr.  Lewis  to  the  pastorate.  During 
the  same  year  the  Sunday  School  was  established. 
Other  institutions  followed,  amongst  them  a  branch 
Sunday  School  called  "  Paxton  School,"  in  Hamilton 
Road,  which  was  carried  on  in  connection  with  the 
church  for  several  years. 

In  1867,  the  Chapel  Building  Society  was  paid  off, 
and  the  whole  of  the  property  placed  in  trust  for  the 
church,  "  upon  the  basis  of  a  deed,  one  of  the  broadest 
in  the  kingdom."  During  the  next  ten  years,  the 
lecture  hall  was  built  and  paid  for,  the  front  gallery 
erected,  and  the  church  renovated,  the  tower  com- 
pleted, and  the  remainder  of  the  original  debt  of 
£2,500  wiped  off.  The  total  cost  represented  by  these 
undertakings  amounted  to  over  £5,000. 

In  1880,  the  church  passed  through  a  time  of 
trouble.  Rev.  Richard  Lewis  resigned  in  shattered 
health.  Many  left,  and  the  numbers  both  of  the 
church  and  congregation  were  greatly  reduced. 

For  some  time  no  steps  were  taken  to  fill  the  vacancy, 
but  the  services  of  well-known  ministers  were  obtained 


as  supplies.  Then  the  eyes  of  the  people  turned  towards 
Rev.  George  Martin,  whose  successful  ministry  for  twenty 
years  at  Lewisham  High  Road  had  made  his  name 
widely  known  among  the  churches.  The  whole  of 
the  circumstances  were  laid  before  him,  together  with 
a  unanimous  and  earnest  call,  which  he  accepted. 

He  commenced  his  ministry  on  the  first  Sunday  in 
October,  1881.  A  new  era  now  opened  for  the  church. 
With  Mr.  Martin's  coming,  by  God's  goodness  and 
grace,  came  new  hope  and  enthusiasm.  The  pastor 
was  greatly  helped  in  this  work,  as  he  had  been  in  his 
former  pastorates,  by  his  loving  and  devoted  wife. 
Within  six  years  the  membership  had  increased  from 
ninety  to  nearly  three  hundred,  and  within  twelve 
months  the  finances  of  the  church  had  improved,  and 
all  liabilities  had  been  cleared  away. 

During  the  year  1885  extensive  alterations  and 
improvements  were  made.  The  interior  was  com- 
pletely transformed.  Spacious  galleries,  new  vestries  and 
classrooms  were  erected,  and  the  Lecture  Hall  renovated. 
The  whole  scheme  involved  an  outlay  of  £4,700. 

The  church  was  re-opened  on  November  29,  1885, 
by  the  Rev.  Edward  White  (of  Kentish  Town)  and  the 

A  debt  of  over  £3,000  remained  after  the  building 
was  complete,  but  this  was  greatly  reduced  by  a  bazaar 
the  following  year  and  brought  down  to  £850  in  1888. 
Two  years  later  the  debt  was  finally  wiped  away. 

At  the  anniversary  meeting,  November,  1900,  with 
Sir  (then  Mr.)  George  Williams  in  the  chair,  a  collec- 
tion was  made  early  in  the  evening  at  his  suggestion 
which  turned  the  little  adverse  balance  into  a  nucleus 
of  another  Restoration  Fund.  That  further  renovation 
took  place  in  1892,  when  over  £600  was  again  expended. 


,3,  caretaker's  rooms  were  built  over  the  vestries 
and  the  cost  more  than  defrayed  by  a  bazaar  in  1S94. 

Years  later,  after  an  honoured  pastorate  of  nearly 
fifteen  years,  Mr.  Martin  received  an  invitation  to  the 
Vr per  Clapton,  which  he  felt  it  his  duty  to 
accept.     He  bade  his  Norwood  congregation  far 
on  Sunday,  Febr.        -    -  --    still  labours,  beloved 

and  esteemed,  at  Clapton  in  his  third  long  London 
pastorate,  and  in  the  fifty-fourth  year  of  his  service  as 
a  faithful  minister  of  Jesus  Chi  -:. 

In  1S97  the  Rev.  William  Houghton  was  called  to 
the  vacant  pulpit.  Mr.  Houghton  was  a  student  of 
Airedale  College,  and  had  held  pastorates  at  Bradford 
(Yorksj.  Christchurch  (Hants),  and  Guildford.  The 
church  still  prospers  under  his  ministry,  and  in  1907, 
M.  E.  Finnis,  from  Cheshunt  College,  was 
introduced  as  assistant  minister. 



The  work  in  this  district  was  commenced  by  the 
Surrey  Congregational  Union  in  1S64.  A  large  swim- 
ming bath  connected  with  the  Bermondsey  Baths  and 
Wash-houses  was  granted  by  the  Commissioners  to  the 
Union  without  charge  for  a  series  of  special  Sunday 
afternoon  and  evening  services.  These  lasted  from  the 
first  Sunday  in  January  till  the  last  in  March.  At  the 
close  of  the  special  services,  a  committee  was  formed 
for  the  purpose  of  securing  a  site.  A  suitable  position 
was  found  at  the  corner  of  Alexander  and  Macks  Roads, 


and  taken  for  five  years.  On  this  site  an  iron  chapel, 
with  440  sittings,  was  erected.  It  was  opened  for 
public  worship  on  Sunday,  November  13,  1864.  One- 
half  the  total  cost,  viz.,  £361,  was  given  by  Mr.  Samuel 
Morlev,  Mr.  J.  Remington  Mills  gave  £250,  and  other 
subscriptions  made  up  the  entire  amount  required. 

The  committee  then  invited  Rev.  Gilbert  McAll  to 
take  the  oversight  of  the  mission.  He  began  his  work  on 
Easter  Sunday,  April  16,  1S65.  Under  his  ministry,  the 
congregations  steadily  increased,  and  a  Sunday  school 
was  established,  with  150  scholars  and  fourteen  teachers, 
Mr.  McAll  himself  taking  the  superintendence. 

The  following  year  a  church  was  formed,  which  soon 
numbered  over  fifty  members.  Other  societies  followed, 
and  before  long,  under  Mr.  Mc All's  energetic  guidance, 
a  vigorous  cause  made  its  presence  felt  in  this  populous 

By  1869  the  need  was  urgently  felt  for  a  permanent 
building.  The  membership  had  increased  to  130,  and 
over  500  children  had  been  gathered  in  the  Sunday 
school.  The  friends  were  able  to  do  without  a  grant 
from  the  Union,  and  had  £3.000  in  hand  towards  the 
new  church. 

The  memorial  stone  was  laid  on  Thursday,  Novem- 
ber n,  1869,  by  William  McArthur,  Esq..  M.P.  On 
February  8,  187 1,  the  new  church,  which  cost  over 
£5,000,  was  opened  by  a  sermon  from  Dr.  Parker. 
Mr.  McAll  continued  in  the  pastorate  until  1887. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  J.  Thorpe,  of  Nottingham. 
Mr.  Thorpe  was  born  near  Sheffield  on  January  S,  1S33; 
and  after  some  training  at  the  Nottingham  Institute, 
settled  at  Wendover,  Bucks,  in  1869.  Thence  he  re- 
moved to  Shrubland  Road,  Dalston.  He  subsequently 
held  pastorates  at  Epsom  and  Nottingham.     In  i88fl 


he  removed  to  Rouel  Road,  and  was  recognised  the 
following  January.  He  only  stayed  two  years,  and 
then  retired  from  active  service,  though  he  often  did 
mission  work,  especially  in  Liverpool,  where  he  preached 
in  theatres  and  public  halls.  He  died  October  16, 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  W.  Daniel.  His  recogni- 
tion service  took  place  on  May  30,  1891.  Mr.  Daniel 
had  held  pastorates  at  Box  Lane,  Herts,  and  Milton 
Hall,  Battersea.  He  remained  at  Rouel  Road  till 
1896,  when  he  removed  to  Coverdale  Church,  Lime- 
house.  In  1898  he  accepted  the  charge  of  Victoria 
Road,  Southsea.  This  he  resigned  in  1903,  and  now 
lives  retired  in  Bermondsey. 

In  1896  the  remaining  debt  upon  the  church  was 
extinguished.  This  debt  had  proved  a  heavy  burden, 
and  several  attempts  were  made  to  reduce  it.  When 
it  was  finally  wiped  out,  a  sermon  by  the  Rev.  F.  B. 
Meyer  and  a  public  meeting  celebrated  the  event. 
Rev.  Nigel  MacNeil  was  the  next  pastor  (1897 — 98). 
He  was  followed  by  Rev.  George  Sadler. 

During  these  recent  years  the  difficulties  of  the 
church  greatly  increased,  owing  to  the  growing  poverty 
of  the  neighbourhood  and  the  removal  to  the  suburbs 
of  those  better  able  to  support  the  cause.  Mr.  Sadler 
did  a  courageous  work  for  nearly  four  years,  and  in 
1902  exchanged  the  difficulties  of  Bermondsey  for 
another  uphill  task  at  Edith  Grove,  Chelsea,  where  he 
still  labours. 

On  Mr.  Sadler's  retirement,  the  church  was  closed. 
It  has  since  been  renovated  throughout,  and  adapted 
for  mission  work,  which  is  carried  on  under  the  auspices 
of  the  London  Congregational  Union.  The  pulpit  is 
now  vacant. 




The  story  of  this  church  is  very  brief.  The  chapel, 
which  was  private  property,  was  occupied  by  the 
Wesleyans.  The  congregation  seceded,  in  connection 
with  the  "  Wesleyan  Reform  "  movement ;  and  in  1864 
their  minister,  Rev.  N.  T.  Langridge,  resigned,  to  enter 
on  a  Congregational  pastorate  elsewhere.  His  successor, 
Rev.  Reuben  Seddon,  undertook  the  charge,  on  the 
understanding  that  the  church  should  adopt  the  Con- 
gregational order.  The  next  year,  1866,  he  removed 
to  Victoria  Park,  and  was  followed  by  Rev.  G.  O.  Frost, 
from  Woodbridge,  Suffolk.  After  four  years,  he  removed 
to  Horsham ;  and  the  church  invited  Rev.  A.  F.  Barfield, 
from  Haslingden,  Lancashire.  On  the  retirement  of 
Rev.  Dr.  Waddington,  in  1871,  Mr.  Barfield  was  chosen 
as  his  successor ;  and  the  church,  accompanying  him, 
was  amalgamated  with  the  Pilgrim  Fathers'  Church. 



The  Church  of  Christ  founded  at  Surrey  Chapel  in 
1783  by  the  Rev.  Rowland  Hill,  M.A.,  and  served  by  a 
succession  of  devoted  ministers,  has  been  the  mother 
of    many    Christian    and     philanthropic    agencies    of 



far-reaching  power  and  beneficent  influence.  In  1856 
Rev.  Newman  Hall,  LL.B.,  then  the  pastor,  was  led 
to  feel  that  the  neighbourhood  around  Surrey  Chapel 
required  some  more  elastic,  aggressive  missionary 
effort  than  could  be  supplied  under  the  limits  of  the 
London  City  Mission.  To  secure  this  object,  an 
organisation  was  founded  called  "  The  Southwark 
mission  for  the  Elevation  of  the  Working  Classes." 
Out  of  this  effort  grew  the  Borough  Road  Congrega- 
tional Church.  An  agent  was  required  for  the  Southwark 
mission,  who  could  initiate  new  forms  of  work,  could 
get  into  touch  with  the  non-church-going  people,  and 
would  not  be  daunted  by  accumulating  difficulties.  The 
Rev.  John  Angell  James,  of  Birmingham,  strongly 
recommended  Mr.  George  M.  Murphy  as  the  person 
needed  for  such  an  enterprise. 

Entering  on  his  new  sphere  of  labour,  Mr.  Murphy 
at  once  realised  that  his  mission  was  to  the  godless 
multitudes  who  crowded  the  streets,  courts,  and  slums, 
branching  right  and  left  from  the  Blackfriars  Road. 
He  had  no  organised  band  of  helpers,  no  mission  hall, 
no  apparatus  or  machinery.  Single-handed  he  must 
enter  on  his  work,  assured  of  the  sympathy  of  his 
pastor,  and  the  blessing  of  God.  Into  the  thronged 
thoroughfare  of  the  New  Cut  Mr.  Murphy  plunged,  to 
prove  his  mission  among  the  promiscuous  crowds  that 
surged  in  that  ill-famed  neighbourhood. 

He  took  with  him  gospel  and  temperance  tracts,  with 
illustrated  booklets,  which  he  gave  to  the  children,  and 
the  adult  passers-by  as  well.  He  would  enter  into  con- 
versation with  any  who  would  listen  to  his  words.  Then 
when  he  had  gathered  a  cluster  around  him,  he  would 
preach  to  them  at  some  street  corner,  with  that  imper- 
turbable good  humour,  sound  sense,  and  honest,  homely 

NEW   KENT   ROAD  147 

talk,  which  ever  characterised  his  ministry.  The  success 
of  the  street  preaching  soon  created  the  necessity  for  an 
indoor  meeting  place,  and  Hawkstone  Hall,  near  to  the 
Waterloo  Railway  terminus,  was  engaged  by  the  society 
as  the  sphere  of  his  operations.  To  secure  a  congrega- 
tion, Mr.  Murphy  once  more  addressed  himself  to  the 
children  in  the  streets,  and  with  them  and  the  adults 
he  had  more  or  less  attracted,  the  hall  was  soon  filled. 
The  services  were  of  the  most  unconventional  and 
homely  character ;  no  hymn-books  were  provided,  but 
monthly  printed  sheets,  containing  selections  of  hymns 
and  melodies,  some  of  them  original  and  set  to  popular 
tunes,  were  used  by  the  congregations,  each  sheet 
announcing  services,  lectures,  and  entertainments. 
Mr.  Murphy's  unique  mission  came  to  be  talked  about, 
and  was  successful  in  a  high  degree. 

This  did  not  satisfy  his  eager  soul.  On  the  other 
side  of  the  Blackfriars  Road  was  Great  Guildford 
Street.  Here  was  a  mission  hall,  the  property  of  the 
Baptist  Church  in  New  Park  Street,  the  scene  of  the 
Rev.  C.  H.  Spurgeon's  early  London  ministry.  The 
partial  use  of  this  room  was  granted  to  Mr.  Murphy, 
who  commenced  therein  a  series  of  lectures  with  such 
topics  as  these  :  "  The  History  of  an  Apple  Dumpling," 
"  The  History  of  a  Tenpenny  Nail,"  "  The  Travels  of 
a  Knob  of  Coal,"  &c.  These  addresses  were  so  success- 
ful, that  a  series  of  popular  lectures  was  inaugurated  at 
Surrey  Chapel,  the  first  being  given  by  the  pastor,  the 
Rev.  Newman  Hall,  on  the  Italian  patriot,  Garibaldi. 
Mr.  Murphy  was  always  planning  some  new  effort,  and 
during  the  winter  of  i860 — 1861  he  conducted  popular 
services  on  Sunday  mornings  in  the  Royal  Victoria 
Theatre  (the  "  Old  Vic,"  as  it  was  then  called),  situated 
in  the  Waterloo  Road.     To   his  intense  mortification, 

L    2 


this  building  was  refused  to  him  after  one  happy  winter's 
services  therein.  The  hall  in  Great  Guildford  Street 
was  also  required  for  other  purposes.  In  this  dilemma 
Mr.  Murphy  cast  his  eyes  on  a  great  establishment 
known  as  the  Lambeth  Baths,  in  Westminster  Bridge 
Road,  with  an  entrance  in  the  New  Cut.  He  became 
the  tenant  of  the  first  class  swimming  bath  at  a  rental 
of  £4  a  week.  He  could  only  occupy  the  building 
from  October  to  April,  because  all  the  summer  it  was 
used  for  its  original  purpose.  Mr.  S.  Morley,  M.P., 
became  responsible  for  the  rent,  which  either  he  or  his 
excellent  sons  continued  to  pay  during  the  thirty-eight 
years  that  the  meetings  were  held.  Here  Mr.  Murphy 
was  a  pioneer,  and  built  better  than  he  knew.  In  all 
the  boroughs  around  there  are  now  municipal  swimming 
baths,  which  in  the  winter  season  are  converted  into 
most  commodious  and  useful  municipal  assembly  rooms. 
Mr.  Murphy  was  also  a  pioneer  in  the  establishment 
of  popular  evenings  for  the  people.  Prior  to  this,  Canon 
Fleming  had  inaugurated,  first  at  Norwich,  and  then 
in  Bath,  his  wonderful  Penny  Readings.  Such  efforts 
had  a  great  rage  of  popularity  for  a  while,  though  they 
have  now  become  obsolete.  Mr.  Murphy's  great  Satur- 
day evenings  for  the  people  proceeded  on  a  plan  which, 
on  so  large  a  scale,  had  never  been  tried  before.  First 
there  was  his  own  personality.  He  always  presided — 
that  meant  great  things  for  the  movement ;  his  sparkling 
humour,  his  fine  bonhomie,  his  quick  repartee,  his 
genuine  enthusiasm,  his  human  sympathy — all  told  on 
the  multitudes  who  gathered  around  him.  He  called 
to  his  aid  music  and  song  in  many  attractive  forms, 
hired  bands  and  orchestras,  engaged  singing  men  and 
singing  women,  enlisted  a  whole  army  of  reciters  and 
speakers,  gave  racy  comments  on  public  events,  induced 

NEW    KENT   ROAD  149 

men  and  women  to  sign  the  temperance  pledge,  and 
laid  himself  out  daily  for  the  good  of  all  with  whom  he 
came  into  contact.  Every  day  of  the  week  there  was 
some  meeting  or  other.  Temperance  meetings  were 
held,  lectures  and  debates  on  secular  subjects  were 
arranged,  and  besides  this,  the  ordinary  work  of  a 

In  the  last  report  he  wrote  for  his  church  members' 
year-book,  he  gives  the  list  of  meetings  in  the  Lambeth 
Baths  for  the  preceding  season  in  the  following  words  : 
"  Two  hundred  and  three  meetings  have  been  arranged 
for  and  held.  Gospel  temperance  and  experience 
meetings,  116;  concerts  and  entertainments,  38;  Satur- 
day night  social  gatherings,  23 ;  lectures,  addresses^ 
readings  and  meetings,  20  ;  Christian  Evidence  Society 
lectures,  6.  The  aggregate  attendance  has  reached 
100,000,  1,000  of  whom  have  signed  the  pledge."  By 
this  time  the  Lambeth  Baths  apostle  could  justly  make 
this  claim  :  "  It  is  matter  for  great  encouragement  and 
thankfulness  that  converts  from  the  Lambeth  Baths 
meetings  are  found  everywhere  in  the  gospel  and 
temperance  field,  and  are  living  for  goodness  and 

The  Lambeth  Baths  mission,  however,  was  only  one 
branch  of  Mr.  Murphy's  work.  He  was  preaching  and 
lecturing  at  the  Hawkstone  Hall  till  the  end  of  1865, 
when  this  building  became  no  longer  available  for  his 
services.  The  Southwark  Mission  Committee  then 
hired  for  him  the  chapel  in  Borough  Road,  formerly 
occupied  by  a  famous  hyper-Calvinistic  Baptist  minister 
— the  Rev.  James  Wells.  Here  at  the  end  of  1866  it 
was  resolved  to  form  a  church  of  the  Congregational 
order,  with  Mr.  Murphy  as  the  pastor.  With  this  view 
ninety-eight    members    were    transferred    from    Surrey 


Chapel,  and  a  fellowship  was  organised  which  at  the 
commencement  numbered  215  souls.  Several  interesting 
features  marked  this  unique  church.  It  was  almost 
exclusively  composed  of  the  wage-earning  classes,  and 
included  many  who  had  been  the  slaves  of  strong  drink. 
It  was  a  church  trained  to  benevolence,  for  it  was 
resolved  never  to  meet  without  an  offering.  Hence  the 
weeknight  service  had  its  collection,  which  was  found 
of  much  assistance  as  a  means  01  subscribing  to  outside 
charities.  Very  speedily  there  were  established  a  Tem- 
perance Society,  a  Sunday  School,  Band  of  Hope  for 
juniors,  then  one  for  seniors,  a  Benevolent  Fund,  a 
Penny  Bank,  and  other  like  institutions.  The  double 
work  of  the  church  and  the  Lambeth  Baths  mission 
entailed  enormous  labour  and  great  expense,  but  the 
needful  financial  aid  was  generally  forthcoming. 

Its  generous  supporters  in  1886  were  Mr.  Samuel 
Morley,  M.P.,  Mr.  W.  J.  Palmer,  of  Reading,  Mr. 
George  Palmer,  M.P.,  Mr.  A.  Cohen,  M.P.,  Mr.  John 
Southgate,  of  Streatham,  and  many  others.  The  people 
themselves  contributed  nobly.  The  whole  expenditure 
of  the  church  and  mission  would  average  -£1,200  a 
year.  The  success  achieved  was  a  great  spiritual 
triumph.     Its  fruits  were  varied  and  abundant. 

Mr.  Murphy's  activities  were  boundless.  For  many 
years  he  was  a  laborious  member  of  the  London  School 
Board ;  he  was  the  indefatigable  Secretary  of  the  Con- 
gregational Total  Abstinence  Association  ;  he  was  also 
a  frequent  deputation  for  the  United  Kingdom  Band  of 
Hope  Union,  National  Temperance  League,  and  other 
societies.  For  thirty-one  years  these  herculean  labours 
were  carried  on,  until  one  Sunday  morning  in  July,  1887, 
as  he  was  in  the  act  of  dressing  in  his  bedroom,  in  a 
moment    he   fell  back  dead.     His  great  exertions  had 

Rev.  G.  M.  Murphy,  Southwark 

NEW    KENT   ROAD  151 

overstrained  the  heart,  and  he  died  at  the  age  of  sixty- 
two  from  syncope.  A  public  funeral,  such  as  is  seldom 
seen  in  London,  testified  to  the  universal  esteem  in 
which  Mr.  Murphy  was  held  by  vast  numbers  of  the 

After  his  death  the  Rev.  W.  Mottram  carried  on  the 
work  for  nine  years,  1887 — 95,  and  only  resigned  it 
because  the  strain  of  so  great  a  mission  had  overtaxed 
his  nervous  energy  to  such  a  degree  that  his  medical 
advisers  insisted  on  his  retirement  from  it.  The  Lam- 
beth Baths  meetings  were  still  in  full  swing,  many  of 
them  being  as  popular  as  ever  they  had  been  at  any 
period.  The  church  numbered  over  300  members,  and 
the  various  institutions  were  still  active  and  flourishing. 
The  church  had  by  this  time  migrated  from  Borough 
Road,  where  the  dingy  old  chapel  had  become  unsafe 
and  quite  unfit  for  use  ;  moreover,  the  lease  had  run 
out,  and  the  terms  of  renewal  were  far  too  onerous  and 
costly.  At  the  corner  where  Gurney  Street  joins  the 
New  Kent  Road,  the  Rev.  Dr.  James  S.  Wilson  had 
secured  a  site  and  erected  a  school-chapel  for  the  old 
church  from  Collier's  Rents.  This  church  had  now 
become  extinct,  and  the  premises  became  the  home  of 
the  Borough  Road  church  in  1893. 

Mr.  Mottram  retired  in  1895.  The  work  of  his 
successor  was  for  some  time  encouraging,  but  after  a 
while  there  were  symptoms  of  decline.  The  meetings 
at  Lambeth  Baths  were  discontinued  in  1900,  and  in 
1904  a  sad  scandal  would  have  brought  the  whole  move- 
ment to  an  unhonoured  end  but  for  the  intervention  of 
the  London  Congregational  Union.  Their  vigorous 
action  averted  the  threatened  calamity. 

A  fine  Hall  and  Institute  have  since  been  erected  at 
a  great  cost,  and  the  work  originated  by  Mr.  Murphy 


in  1856,  as  the  home  missionary  of  Surrey  Chapel,  is  at 
present  being  carried  on  under  the  auspices  of  the 
London  Congregational  Union,  as  its  South  London 
Mission,  the  Superintendent  (since  1905)  being  the 
Rev.  H.  Kenward,  formerly  of  Norwich.  It  is  to  have 
all  the  appliances  of  an  institutional  Church,  and  there 
is  good  reason  to  hope  that  a  success  like  that  which 
has  already  marked  the  other  central  missions  of  the 
London  Union  will  attend  this  effort  also. 



In  the  year  1863  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Garland  Soper  came 
to  reside  at  Caterham.  Congregationalists  themselves 
they  found  no  other  Nonconformist  family  residing  in  or 
near  the  village,  and  no  Nonconformist  church  of  any 
size  for  seven  miles  around.  There  was  only  the  parish 
church,  a  small  building,  in  the  old  village,  some 
distance  from  the  Valley,  and  that  had  no  service  on 
Sunday  evenings.  So  it  seemed  to  Mr.  Soper,  who  was 
a  lay  preacher,  that  there  was  a  clear  opportunity  and  a 
distinct  call  to  preach  to  the  people  amongst  whom  he 
had  come  to  live.  A  large  carpenter's  shop  was  rented 
at  his  own  expense,  and  Sunday  evening  services  were 
conducted.  The  first  services  were  held  on  October  11, 
1863,  and  they  were  well  sustained  till  March  6,  1864. 

At  that  time  family  circumstances  led  to  Mr.  Soper's 
removal  from  Caterham,  and  the  services  came  to  a 
close.  But  there  had  come  to  reside  in  the  neighbour- 
hood Rev.  Dr.  Hoby,  a  retired   Baptist  minister,  who 


after  Mr.  Soper  had  left  conducted  services  in  the  hall 
of  the  house  of  his  son-in-law,  Mr.  Thomas  Bradbury- 
Winter,  and  although  the  house  was  some  distance 
away  on  the  top  of  the  hills,  large  numbers  gathered 
for  worship. 

Other  Nonconformist  families  came  to  live  in  the 
neighbourhood,  and  it  was  felt  the  time  had  come  to 
erect  a  suitable  building  for  public  worship. 

Joint  action  was  first  contemplated,  but  this  was 
abandoned  when  Mr.  George  Davis,  the  father  of 
Mrs.  Soper,  announced  his  intention  to  build  a  small 
chapel  at  his  own  cost.  This  edifice,  capable  of 
accommodating  some  200  persons,  was  erected  in 
the  Waller  Road,  and  was  opened  November  26, 

The  chapel  was  made  over  as  a  free  gift  by  Mr.  Davis 
to  his  son-in-law,  Mr.  Soper.  A  committee  of  manage- 
ment was  appointed,  the  members  of  which  soon  felt 
the  need  of  one  competent  person  to  take  the  oversight 
of  the  incipient  cause.  Mr.  Soper,  who  was  then 
residing  at  Wanstead,  was  invited  to  return  and  under- 
take the  general  charge  of  the  pulpit.  He  complied 
with  the  request,  and  conducted  the  services  with  the 
assistance  of  Dr.  Hoby,  and  occasionally  of  ministers 
from  a  distance. 

At  length  the  question  arose  whether  the  time  had  not 
come  for  securing  the  services  of  a  settled  minister.  In 
1867  Mr.  Soper  offered,  in  the  event  of  a  pastor  being 
elected,  to  put  the  building  in  trust  for  the  benefit  of 
the  church  that  should  be  formed,  such  trust  to  continue 
till  another  and  a  larger  place  of  worship  should  be 

To  this  the  committee  agreed,  and  the  following  year 
Rev.   James    Branwhite    French,    of    Richmond,    was 


invited  to  take  the  pastorate.  Mr.  French  commenced 
his  ministry  on  June  28,  1868,  and  the  following  August 
a  church  was  formed.  Mr.  French  resigned  on 
August  29, 1872,  and  was  followed  by  Rev.  Robert  Davey, 
who  commenced  his  ministry  the  following  January. 
Mr.  Davey  was  a  Homerton  student,  and  had  held 
pastorates  at  Ripley,  Olney,  and  Foulmire.  Soon 
after  Mr.  Davey's  settlement  steps  were  taken  to  secure 
a  new  building.  A  site  was  purchased,  and  on  June  9, 
1874,  memorial  stones  were  laid  by  Mr.  W.  G.  Soper. 
The  new  church  was  opened  on  April  6  of  the  following 
year.  Sermons  were  preached  by  Revs.  Dr.  Parker 
and  Joshua  C.  Harrison.  The  total  cost  of  the  building 
amounted  to  £6,000.  The  whole  of  this  was  raised  by 
the  opening  day,  and  a  surplus  was  left  towards  a 
proposed  lecture  hall  and  schools.  At  the  same  time 
Mrs.  Soper  presented  an  organ  to  the  church,  at  a  cost 
of  £250. 

In  March,  1877,  Mr.  Davey  resigned  on  account  of 
ill  health.  He  afterwards  took  charge  of  the  church  at 
Queen  Street,  Dover,  where  he  remained  ten  years.  In 
1889  he  retired  from  the  active  work  of  the  ministry, 
and  is  now  spending  the  close  of  his  long  and  useful 
life  at  Streatham. 

In  October,  1877,  steps  were  taken  to  complete  the 
pile  of  buildings  by  the  erection  of  a  lecture  hall  and 
class  rooms.  Mr.  W.  G.  Soper  laid  the  stones  on 
October  2.  The  opening  services  took  place  on  June  4, 
1878.  Rev.  J.  Baldwin  Brown,  B.A.,  preached.  Of  the 
entire  cost,  £4,300,  no  less  than  £2,000  was  received  on 
the   opening  day,  only  £1,000  remaining  to  be  raised. 

Just  before  the  lecture  hall  was  opened,  Rev.  James 
Legge,  M.  A.,  of  Hanley,  was  elected  pastor.  He  remained 
until  September,  1883,  when  he  accepted  an  invitatio 


to     Headingley,     Leeds,    where     he    still     lives     in 

Mr.  Legge  was  followed  by  Rev.  Wm.  Heather,  M.A., 
a  student  of  Cheshunt  College.  He  commenced  his 
ministry  in  August,  1884,  and  remained  until  1894, 
when  he  removed  to  Beccles,  where  he  still  labours. 
The  church  then  invited  Rev.  Arthur  Pringle,  of  Maid- 
stone, to  the  vacant  pulpit.  Mr.  Pringle  commenced 
his  ministry  on  May  19,  1895,  and  resigned  in  1903. 
He  has  since  accepted  the  charge  of  the  church  at 
Purley,  where  he  now  ministers. 

In  1901  Rev.  L.  K.  Fletcher,  M.A.,  of  Lincoln  and 
Mansfield  Colleges,  was  called  from  Bilston  to  act  as 
assistant-minister.  He  resigned  this  position  in  1904, 
and  is  now  Secretary  of  Tettenhall  School,  Stafford- 

In  June,  1904,  Rev.  Sydney  Millege,  the  present 
minister,  accepted  the  pastorate.  Mr.  Millege  was  a 
student  of  Cheshunt  College,  and  has  held  pastorates  at 
Broadstairs,  Kilvedon  and  Victoria  Road,  Cambridge. 

In  recording  the  history  of  Caterham  Church,  men- 
tion should  be  made  of  the  School  for  the  Sons  of 
Congregational  Ministers,  which  was  founded  at  Lewi- 
sham  in  1811,  and  removed  hither  in  1884.  The  school, 
which  occupies  a  pleasant  position  at  the  head  of  the 
beautiful  valley,  accommodates  about  150  boys.  The 
headmaster  is  Rev.  Horace  E.  Hall,  M.A.  The  boys 
attend  divine  service  at  the  Congregational  Church,  the 
gallery  being  reserved  for  their  use. 

Upper  Caterham  Mission  Hall  was  first  opened  in 
1876,  about  a  mile  from  the  church.  Later  it  was 
moved  about  half  a  mile  further  off,  to  a  more  densely 
populated  part  of  the  village  ;  and  in  October,  1892,  a 
permanent  building  was  erected  on  the  same  site. 

156  Congregationalism  in  surrey 



In  1729  a  small  chapel  was  erected  for  the  Baptists 
in  a  narrow  alley  called  Pump-Pail.  Being  vacated  in 
1866,  it  was  bought  by  Rev.  John  Nelson,  who  had 
already  spent  forty-seven  years  in  the  gospel  ministry, 
first  as  a  Wesleyan  missionary,  then  as  a  circuit 
minister,  and  lately — from  1858  to  1864 — as  pastor  of 
Park  Crescent  Congregational  Church,  Clapham.  In 
this  unattractive  location  he  resumed  his  active 
ministry,  purely  as  a  labour  of  love.  Here  he  con- 
tinued to  minister  till  the  last  Sunday  of  his  life, 
May  24,  1873.  On  that  day  he  exchanged  pulpits  with 
Rev.  J.  W.  Rolls,  who  was  assisting  the  pastor  of  South 
Croydon  church.  The  next  day  he  died  suddenly,  at 
the  age  of  seventy-five.  Mr.  Rolls  being  at  liberty,  he 
was  invited  by  the  people  at  "  Pump-Pail,"  now  called 
Salem  Chapel,  to  succeed  their  deceased  pastor.  He  was 
a  Cotton  End  student,  and  since  1843  held  pastorates  at 
Sutton  in  Herefordshire,  Hawes,  Kirby  Moorside,  and 
Union  Croft  in  Yorkshire,  and  Roxton  in  Bedford- 
shire. He  accepted  the  call,  collected  over  £600, 
single-handed,  to  purchase  and  renovate  the  building, 
and  laboured  in  the  pastorate  for  seven  years,  when  he 
was  compelled  by  paralysis  to  retire.  After  great 
suffering,  he  died  on  June  21,  1889.  He  was  followed 
at  Salem  Chapel,  in  1881,  by  Rev.  G.  W.  Keesey,  from 
the  Bristol  Institute.  He  remained  till  1887,  when  he 
removed  to  Sutherland  Chapel,  Walworth.  Rev.  C. 
Potter,  from  Lytchett  Minster,  Dorset,  occupied  the 
pulpit  in  1888;  but  from  1890  it  was  reported  "  sup- 
plied," until  in   1899  it  was  affiliated  to  George  Street. 




In  July,  1863,  religious  services  were  commenced  by 
the  Presbyterian  Church  of  England  in  the  Public  Hall, 
Croydon,  and  shortly  afterwards  Rev.  Samuel  Kennedy, 
being  obliged  to  seek  a  milder  climate  than  Scotland 
afforded,  was  sent  here  by  the  Synod  to  conduct  them. 
He  gathered  a  congregation  with  so  much  success  that 
when  the  Synod  wished  to  remove  him,  both  he  and 
his  people  refused,  and  agreed  to  unite  as  an  indepen- 
dent congregation.  Accordingly,  in  September,  1865 
they  accepted  the  congregational  form  of  government, 
and  were  so  recognised  by  the  churches  of  the  county. 
Shortly  after  they  erected  an  iron  church  in  Parker 
Road,  South  Croydon.  This  building  was  opened 
September  20,  1865,  Dr.  Raleigh  preaching  in  the 
morning,  and  Rev.  H.  Allon  at  night. 

In  1868  Mr.  Kennedy  removed  to  Newport,  Mon- 
mouthshire, and  Rev.  Joseph  Whiting,  who  had  re- 
signed the  church  at  Stroud  through  illness,  and  was 
residing  in  Croydon,  was  invited  to  the  vacant  pulpit. 
He  accepted,  and  commenced  his  ministry  May  2, 

Under  Mr.  Whiting  a  church  was  formed  of  twenty- 
three  members,  with  eight  others  recognised  as  com- 

The  time  had  now  come  for  better  accommodation 
than  the  iron  church  afforded.  A  convenient  site  was 
obtained  in  the  Aberdeen  Road,  and  on  December  5, 
1870,  the  foundation  stone  was  laid  in  a  snowstorm  by 
Henry  Wright,  Esq.,  J. P.,  of  Kensington.     The  church 


was  designed  in  French  Gothic  of  the  thirteenth 
century,  with  nave  and  transepts,  organ  chamber,  and 
minister's  vestry.  It  was  built  to  seat  400  persons,  and 
the  cost,  including  site,  was  £2,600. 

The  opening  services  were  held  on  April  25,  1871. 
At  the  end  of  1873  the  adjoining  plot  of  land  was  taken 
on  lease,  and  a  plain  but  serviceable  schoolroom  was 
built  at  a  cost  of  £400.  Led  by  the  strenuous  and 
self-denying  efforts  of  their  minister,  the  congregation 
soon  reduced  the  debt  on  the  church  to  a  comparatively 
small  amount,  and  in  May,  1874,  an  organ  was  sub- 
scribed for  as  a  mark  of  their  appreciation  of  Mr. 
Whiting's  labours. 

Mr.  Whiting's  ministry  was  closed  by  his  death, 
October  14,  1875.  On  the  last  Sunday  of  that  year, 
Rev.  J.  Alden  Davies  occupied  the  pulpit.  Some 
members  of  the  congregation  knew  something  of  Mr. 
Davies'  work  at  Edge  Hill,  Liverpool,  and  he  was 
invited  again  in  February.  He  subsequently  received 
a  call  to  the  pastorate,  and  was  recognised  on  June  19, 

During  the  first  twelve  months  Mr.  Davies  set  him- 
self to  reduce  the  debt  on  the  church,  and  through  the 
generosity  of  the  Chapel  Building  Society,  and  the 
efforts  of  the  congregation,  this  was  achieved,  only  a 
mortgage  of  £250  remaining.  In  1879  the  freehold  of 
the  schoolroom  was  purchased,  and  considerable 
additions  were  made  to  the  building.  Owing  to  the 
resignation  of  some  of  the  trustees,  the  trust  was  now 
renewed.  In  the  following  year  another  attempt  was 
made  to  clear  the  debt  remaining  upon  the  church,  and, 
aided  by  £50  from  the  Surrey  Union,  the  mortgage  was 
entirely  wiped  out. 

The  progress  of  the  Sunday  School  having  rendered 


extension  ecessary,  two  large  rooms  and  five  class 
rooms  were  erected  in  1885,  at  a  cost  of  £538.  These 
were  opened  on  Tuesday,  October  20. 

Towards  the  end  of  1887,  efforts  were  made  to  raise 
funds  for  a  new  organ  ;  by  means  of  a  Sale  of  Work 
and  other  methods  £"400  was  raised,  and  in  August, 
1888,  an  efficient  instrument  was  opened  free  of  debt. 

One  great  feature  of  this  church  has  always  been  its 
interest  in  missionary  work,  and  it  has  had  the  privilege 
of  sending  out  one  of  its  members,  Miss  Clara  Gilfillan, 
as  a  missionary  to  the  foreign  field.  It  has  also  sent 
into  the  home  ministry  Rev.  Albert  E.  Hooper,  who 
was  ordained  in  June,  1897,  and  now  labours  at  St. 
Ives,  Hunts. 

In  1897,  Rev.  J.  Alden  Davies  attained  the  twenty- 
first  anniversary  of  his  pastorate,  and  the  opportunity 
was  taken  by  his  people  to  express  their  loving  appre- 
ciation of  his  ministry.  In  1898  the  increasing  ill 
health  of  the  minister's  wife  rendered  a  long  stay 
abroad  necessary,  and  the  church  made  generous 
arrangements  for  the  pastor's  absence  for  six  months. 

The  church  entered  heartily  into  the  "  Twentieth 
Century  Scheme,"  and  although  sorely  needing  money 
for  improvements  and  additions,  it  raised  £100  and 
decided  that  all  should  go  to  the  Central  Fund. 

In  1900,  the  trustees  being  reduced  to  three,  the 
trust  was  renewed,  and  the  full  number,  eight,  appointed. 
The  same  year  a  scheme  for  new  class  rooms,  vestry, 
etc.,  was  adopted,  and  over  £800  was  raised,  but  un- 
fortunately the  work  had  to  be  laid  aside  for  two  or 
three  years. 

Mr.  Davies  was  now  the  oldest  Congregational 
minister  having  a  charge  in  Surrey,  and  his  advancing 
years  and  the  continued  ill  health  of  his  wife  led  him  to 


feel  that  the  time  had  come  to  lay  down  the  work  he 
had  stedfastly  sustained  for  nearly  twenty-seven  years. 
He  resigned  the  responsibilities  of  the  pastorate  in 
1902,  but  though  retired  he  still  continues  serving  the 
churches  and  the  union  of  Surrey. 

In  May,  1904,  Rev.  Alexander  Sandison  was  ap- 
pointed pastor.  Mr.  Sandison  was  educated  at  Ches- 
hunt,  and  held  the  pastorate  of  King's  Weigh  House 
Chapel  from  1880  to  1901.  Since  then  the  interest 
has  been  sustained  and  fresh  work  developed,  one  new 
institution  being  a  men's  social,  which  has  already 
borne  spiritual  fruit. 



No  part  of  London  so  near  to  the  City  has  so  long 
retained  its  rural  character  as  Dulwich.  Even  now, 
though  one  of  the  inner  suburbs,  the  extensive  grounds 
of  Dulwich  College,  and  other  open  spaces,  with  the 
wide  well-kept  roads,  give  one  the  impression  of  the 
surroundings  of  a  country  town,  rather  than  of  the 
metropolis.  As  far  back  as  1875  a  few  Congrega- 
tionalists,  resident  in  the  neighbourhood,  began  to  feel 
the  necessity  for  a  Congregational  Church,  but  it  was 
not  until  1877  that  the  initiative  was  taken  by  Mr. 
W.  F.  Leeson,  a  deacon  of  Cambridge  Heath  Church, 
Hackney,  who  had  lately  removed  to  Dulwich  from 
that  neighbourhood.  A  site  was  purchased  in  Dulwich 
Grove,  at  a  cost  of  £800.  Plans  were  prepared  by  Mr. 
James  Cubitt ;  and  a  complete  scheme  for  church  and 
schools  was  decided  upon. 


It  was  resolved  to  proceed  with  the  lecture  hall  and 
classrooms  first,  at  a  cost  of  £1,750.  During  1878  the 
memorial  stone  was  laid  by  S.  Figgis,  Esq.,  the  Chair- 
man of  the  Surrey  Union.  Dr.  Kennedy,  Dr.  Clemance, 
Revs.  G.  B.  Ryley,  J.  P.  Gledstone,  P.  J.  Turquand  and 
H.  J.  Perkins,  took  part  in  the  proceedings.  The  sub- 
scriptions for  the  day  amounted  to  £230. 

The  hall  was  consecrated  at  a  prayer-meeting  on 
Wednesday,  July  9,  1879,  and  the  opening  sermon  was 
preached  the  following  afternoon  by  Dr.  Hannay.  A 
public  meeting  was  held  in  the  evening,  when  Mr. 
Albert  Spicer  presided.  Revs.  Dr.  Clemance,  Andrew 
Mearns,  H.  J.  Tressider  and  Mr.  Samuel  Figgis  with 
other  friends  were  present  to  show  their  interest  in  the 

The  first  minister  was  Rev.  S.  G.  Kelly,  B.A.  Mr. 
Kelly  began  life  as  a  pupil  teacher  in  a  Wesleyan  day- 
school  in  Bristol.  He  entered  New  College  to  prepare 
for  the  ministry,  and  had  a  very  successful  academic 
course,  taking  honours  in  the  first  and  second  B.A. 
examinations.  His  first  settlement  was  at  Erith,  in 
Kent ;  and  after  three  years'  service  there  he  accepted 
the  invitation  to  Dulwich  Grove.  Mr.  Kelly's  ministry 
was  not  of  long  duration.  He  was  troubled  by  intellectual 
difficulties,  and  felt  it  his  duty  after  only  a  year's  service 
to  resign  the  pastorate.  He  closed  his  ministry  on  the 
second  Sunday  in  January,  1881.  For  a  time  he  sup- 
ported himself  by  private  tuition,  but  subsequently  saw 
his  way  to  accepting  the  charge  of  a  church  in  Dundee. 

His  death  was  very  sad  ;  he  was  climbing  a  mountain 
near  Balmoral,  lost  his  way,  and  was  overcome  by  cold 
and  fatigue.  His  body  was  found  by  some  shepherds 
within  sight  of  a  place  where  he  might  have  obtained 



Mr.  Kelly  was  a  man  of  great  mental  power  and  high 
promise.  He  added  to  his  attainments  the  blessing  of 
a  simple  and  affectionate  disposition. 

After  Mr.  Kelly's  resignation,  a  proposal  was  mooted 
to  affiliate  with  Hanover  Chapel,  Peckham.  Hanover 
Church  agreed  on  certain  conditions,  but  the  scheme 
did  not  take  effect. 

During  1882-3,  Rev-  W.  C.  Preston,  from  Hull, 
carried  on  the  work.  The  necessity  for  further 
accommodation  was  keenly  felt ;  but  the  heavy  debt  of 
£2,200  which  still  remained  on  the  buildings  prevented 
any  further  outlay. 

The  following  year,  an  attempt  was  made  to  remove 
this  burden.  A  grant  of  £500  was  made  by  the  Church 
Extension  Committee,  and  £250  by  the  Chapel  Build- 
ing Society,  on  condition  that  £1,000  was  raised  by  the 
people  themselves  before  building.  About  £850  of  this 
was  soon  promised. 

Early  in  1884  Mr.  Preston  removed  to  Gunnersbury. 
Only  in  1885  steps  were  taken  to  secure  a  settled  pastor, 
and  in  June  Rev.  D.  Alexander  commenced  his 
ministry.  Good  progress  was  made,  but  soon  after 
Mr.  Alexander's  settlement  he  was  laid  aside  by  serious 
illness.  However,  by  the  aid  of  neighbouring  ministers 
the  church  kept  well  together  ;  and  an  energetic  effort 
was  made  to  secure  funds  for  the  erection  of  the  new 
building.  By  1888,  out  of  £4,000  required,  £2,000  had 
been  paid  or  promised. 

Mr.  Alexander  died  in  1888,  and  the  following  year 
Rev.  H.  J.  Haffer  was  appointed  to  the  pastorate.  Mr. 
Haffer  had  been  a  student  of  Western  College,  and  had 
held  pastorates  at  Kingstown  and  Wrexham.  Under 
his  guidance  the  work  soon  made  progress,  and  on 
July  12,  1889,  the  memorial  stones  of  the  new  church 


were  laid  by  Mr.  H.  B.  Marshall,  jun.,  and  Mr.  John 
Taylor.  Revs.  H.  J.  Haffer,  J.  H.  Hopkins  and  A.  A. 
Ramsey  took  part  in  the  ceremonial.  The  contribu- 
tions placed  on  the  stones  amounted  to  £240.  The 
evening  meeting  was  presided  over  by  Mr.  Walter 
Hitchcock  and  addressed  by  Rev.  Colmer  B.  Symes,  of 
Leytonstone.  On  June  11,  1890,  the  building  was 
opened  with  a  dedication  service  preceded  by  luncheon. 

The  congregations  soon  increased,  new  institutions 
were  started,  open-air  and  mission  work  was  energetic- 
ally carried  on,  and  by  1893  it  was  necessary  to  add  a 
gallery  at  the  north  end  of  the  church ;  whilst  so  large 
was  the  increase  of  the  school  that  an  iron  room  had  to 
be  purchased  for  further  accommodation. 

In  1899,  Mr.  Haffer  accepted  an  invitation  to 
Harpenden,  Herts,  where  he  still  labours.  He  was 
followed  by  Rev.  Albert  Swift,  under  whose  ministry 
the  membership  was  largely  increased. 

In  1901  the  church  was  enlarged  so  as  to  provide 
340  more  sittings,  and  the  schools  to  admit  200 
additional  scholars.  Vestries  and  a  chancel  for  organ 
and  choir  were  included  in  the  scheme.  Memorial 
stones  were  laid  by  Mr.  Geo.  Hardy,  L.C.C.,  Mr.  F.  T. 
Bullen  and  Rev.  H.  J.  Haffer.  The  church  was 
reopened  March  3,  1902  ;  sermons  being  preached  by 
Rev.  C.  T.  Home  and  Mr.  S.  Figgis. 

In  1904,  Rev.  G.  Campbell  Morgan,  D.D.,  having 
undertaken  the  task  of  resuscitating  the  decayed 
interest  at  Westminster  Chapel,  desired  Mr,  Swift  to 
become  his  colleague.  Mr.  Swift  accepted  the  respon- 
sible position,  and  has  ably  seconded  Dr.  Morgan  in 
his  splendidly  successful  work.  The  Dulwich  church 
then  invited  Rev.  John  Hugh  Edwards,  of  Newtown, 
Montgomeryshire,  to  become  its  pastor.     Mr.  Edwards 

M    2 


entered  on  the  charge  in  1905,  and  exercised  a  success- 
ful ministry  till  the  end  of  1907.  A  variety  of  circum- 
stances, however,  led  him  to  the  conviction  that  he 
might  hope  for  greater  usefulness  in  other  surroundings, 
and  at  the  commencement  of  1908  he  accepted  a  call 
to  Hanover  Chapel,  Peckham. 
The  pastorate  is  now  vacant. 



When  in  January,  1878,  Rev.  N.  L.  Parkyn  retired 
from  the  Congregational  Church  in  George  Street,  a 
number  of  the  congregation  left  with  him.  These 
united  with  a  church  at  Havelock  Road,  which  had 
been  gathered  a  couple  of  years  before,  under  the 
ministry  of  Rev.  A.  H.  New.  Mr.  New  then  retired, 
and  Mr.  Parkyn  was  elected  sole  pastor.  At  first  the 
building  in  which  they  worshipped  was  rented  from 
Mr.  New,  to  whom  the  property  belonged ;  and  later 
the  freehold  was  purchased. 

As  the  congregation  increased,  the  building  became 
unsuitable  for  carrying  on  the  work,  and  the  erection 
of  a  new  church  in  a  more  central  position  was  con- 
templated. After  many  difficulties  the  site  in  Canning 
Road  was  secured.  Designs  were  submitted  by  Mr.  J. 
Sulman,  who  was  appointed  architect,  and  the  work 
was  carried  out  by  Messrs.  Bowyer.  On  May  31, 1881, 
the  foundation  stones  were  laid  by  Mr.  Samuel  Morley, 
who  generously  promised  £400,  if  another  £2,000  was 


raised.     This  was  more  than  accomplished  during  the 
day,  one  friend  giving  £500. 

The  opening  services  were  held  on  January  18,  1882. 
Dr.  Parker  preached  in  the  morning,  and  Rev.  Newman 
Hall  in  the  evening. 

The  church  is  a  beautiful  structure  of  red  brick  in 
the  Gothic  style,  with  nave,  aisles  and  chancel.  The 
interior  is  of  red  brick,  which  with  the  dark  wood  of  the 
roof  produces  a  soft  and  harmonious  effect.  The 
pulpit  is  of  white  marble  and  alabaster  and  affords  a 
striking  relief  to  the  warm  tones  of  the  building.  The 
church  was  originally  built  to  seat  650  persons,  and 
the  total  cost,  including  the  freehold  site,  organ  and 
furniture,  was  £7,800.  Of  this  £1,150  was  obtained  by 
the  sale  of  the  old  premises  in  Havelock  Road. 

On  August  8,  1883,  Rev.  N.  Parkyn  resigned;  and 
Rev.  D.  Bloomfield  James,  of  Swansea,  was  chosen  his 
successor.  In  May,  1886,  the  foundation  stone  of  a 
new  schoolroom  at  the  rear  of  the  church  was  laid  by 
Mr.  R.  V.  Barrow,  J.  P.,  Mayor  of  Croydon.  The 
schoolroom  was  opened  on  Saturday,  November  27. 
The  whole  cost  of  the  building  was  £2,000,  which  was 
covered  by  the  opening  day. 

Early  in  1889,  Mr.  James  resigned  his  charge  to  take 
the  oversight  of  the  church  at  Wimbledon.  Rev. 
G.  B.  Ryley,  of  Hanover  Chapel,  Peckham,  was  the 
next  minister.  He  commenced  his  duties  on  July  7, 
1889,  and  held  the  pastorate  until  September  27,  1893, 
when  he  removed  to  Harley  Street,  Bow.  He  has 
since  entered  the  Established  Church.  During  Mr. 
Ryley's  ministry  the  debt  upon  the  church  was 
completely  extinguished. 

In  1894,  Rev.  J.  Benson   Evans,    of  Ramsgate,  was 
nvited   to   the   pastorate.      Mr.    Evans   was   born   at 


Nevern,  Pembrokeshire,  and  was  educated  at  Cardiff 
and  Brecon  Colleges.  His  first  charge  was  at  Haver- 
fordwest ;  thence,  in  1885,  he  went  to  Ramsgate,  and 
after  eight  and  a  half  years  of  useful  service  there, 
accepted  the  call  to  Addiscombe. 

Since  the  building  of  the  church  an  end  gallery  has 
been  added  by  Sir  J.  Compton  Rickett,  in  memory  of 
his  father-in-law,  Rev.  H.  J.  Gamble.  In  1901  a 
memorial  window  to  the  late  Mr.  Edward  Goddard, 
superintendent  of  the  Sunday  school,  was  placed  in 
the  church,  and  much  adds  to  the  beauty  of  the 

Under  Mr.  Evans'  thoughtful  preaching  and  genial 
ministry  the  church  at  Addiscombe  has  grown 
considerably.  Only  recently  at  one  time  nearly  fifty 
persons,  mostly  men,  were  gathered  into  fellowship. 
Surrounded  by  a  band  of  earnest  workers,  the  church  is 
quietly  but  efficiently  serving  this  favoured  district  of 
Croydon  in  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ. 



In  1879  the  committee  of  the  London  Congregational 
Union  purchased  a  site  in  Barry  Road,  Dulwich.  An 
iron  chapel  had  been  erected  on  the  ground,  and 
services  held  for  some  months  by  Rev.  S.  Barnes. 
After  his  retirement  the  work  was  carried  on  by  the 
London  Congregational  Union,  with  the  aid  of  Camber- 
well  Green  Church.     In  1882,  new  vestries  were  added 


to  the  iron  building,  and  the  church  was  re-opened  by 
Dr.  Clemance  on  September  3. 

The  following  year,  Rev.  Thomas  Anthony,  B.A.,  of 
Moseley,  was  invited  to  undertake  the  charge.  A 
church  of  seventy-two  members  was  formally  con- 
stituted, and  for  a  while  some  success  attended  the 
enterprise.  A  building  committee  was  formed  to  erect 
a  new  church,  and  promises  of  help  obtained,  but 
difficulties  ensued.  At  Michaelmas,  1886,  after  a  pasto- 
rate of  three  years,  Mr.  Anthony  resigned,  and  the 
church  was  disbanded. 

Again  the  London  Union  took  the  case  in  hand. 
The  iron  building  had  been  closed  for  repairs,  and 
remained  closed  for  over  twelve  months.  But  in  1888, 
Rev.  Adam  Averell  Ramsey  was  invited  to  take  the 
oversight  of  the  work,  and  with  his  advent  the  real 
history  of  Emmanuel  Church  begins. 

Mr.  Ramsey  was  educated  at  Belfast,  and  had  already 
done  good  service  in  Ireland,  and  afterwards  at 
Gloucester,  Hackney,  and  Dewsbury.  In  coming  to 
Dulwich,  he  undertook  a  labour  of  no  small  difficulty. 
He  found  a  dilapidated  building,  in  which  the  regular 
attendants  could  be  counted  on  the  fingers  ;  but  he  set 
himself  to  the  task  with  steady  determination  and 
strong  faith,  and  soon  had  the  joy  of  seeing  his  hopes 
abundantly  fulfilled. 

The  first  step  was  to  organise  a  church  fellowship. 
This  was  done  on  January  1,  1889,  when  twenty-eight 
persons  gave  in  their  names  to  form  the  new  church. 
Two  days  later  a  building  fund  was  started.  Progress 
was  quickly  made.  Meanwhile  the  congregation  grew, 
and  the  iron  building  soon  needed  extension.  By 
October  additional  accommodation  was  provided  for 
150  people. 


On  March  29,  1890,  the  freehold  of  the  site  was  con- 
veyed to  trustees  chosen  by  the  church,  and  a  few 
days  later,  at  the  early  hour  of  7  a.m.,  the  pastor  cut 
the  first  sod  for  the  erection  of  a  new  sanctuary.  On 
June  5  the  memorial  stones  were  laid  by  Mark  Oldroyd, 
Esq.,  M.P.,  and  Evan  Spicer,  Esq.,  alderman  of  the 
London  County  Council.  During  the  service  Mr. 
Ramsey  read  a  statement  describing  the  growth  of  the 
work.  Dr.  J.  G.  Rogers  followed  with  an  inspiring 
address,  and  then  purses  to  the  value  of  £300  were  laid 
upon  the  stones.  One  interesting  gift  was  a  stone 
pulpit  from  Rev.  C.  Wilson's  church  at  Blackheath, 
formerly  used  by  Rev.  James  Sherman.  After  tea  a 
largely  attended  meeting  was  held  in  the  iron  church, 
when  Revs.  H.  J.  Haffer,  J.  P.  Gledstone,  T.  Hooper 
and  others  took  part.  The  collection  brought  up  the 
day's  proceeds  to  £516. 

In  October  the  first  deacons  were  elected,  the  busi- 
ness up  to  this  time  having  been  transacted  by  a 
church  committee. 

Wednesday,  June  10,  1891,  was  a  memorable  day  in 
the  annals  of  Dulwich  Congregationalism.  The  spacious 
and  beautiful  building,  which  now  crowns  the  summit 
of  Barry  Road,  was  opened,  and  dedicated  to  the 
worship  of  God.  In  the  absence  through  illness  of 
Dr.  R.  W.  Dale,  Rev.  Dr.  Mackennal,  of  Bowden, 
preached  on  "The  Healing  of  the  Impotent  Man  at 
Bethesda,  as  symbolical  of  Christ's  Dealing  with  Moral 
and  Spiritual  Disease."  Afterwards  about  250  visitors 
sat  down  to  luncheon  in  the  old  iron  building  close  by. 
It  was  stated  that  the  total  cost  of  the  new  church  was 
estimated  at  £9,496,  towards  which  £4,013  had  been 
paid  or  promised,  including  generous  contributions 
from  the   churches  at  Camberwell   Green,    Lewisham 


High  Road,  Anerley,  Trinity,  Brixton,  and  George 
Street,  Croydon.  In  the  evening  a  sermon  was  preached 
by  Rev.  Dr.  Fairbairn,  of  Oxford. 

The  building  thus  opened  was  designed  by  Mr.  W.  D. 
Church.  It  is  in  early  Gothic  style,  faced  externally 
with  Kentish  rag  stone  and  Bath  stone  dressings.  The 
columns  are  of  polished  Aberdeen  granite  with  richly- 
carved  capitals.  The  roof  is  panelled  and  moulded  in 
pitch  pine.     The  seating  accommodation  is  for  800. 

The  subsequent  record  of  the  church  is  one  of  steady 
growth  and  ever  widening  activity.  A  few  months 
after  the  opening  of  the  new  building  it  was  found 
possible  to  dispense  with  the  financial  aid  of  the  London 
Union.  In  less  than  seven  years  it  became  necessary 
to  erect  a  lecture  hall  and  classrooms.  The  memorial 
stone  of  this  extension  was  laid  on  February  12,  1898, 
by  Mr.  Edwin  Jones,  J. P.,  L.C.C.,  and  the  dedication 
services  were  held  on  September  27  following,  Rev.  Dr. 
Horton,  of  Hampstead,  giving  the  inaugural  address. 
The  cost  was  estimated  at  £4,000,  of  which  half  was 
promised  before  the  opening,  including  £500  from 
Mr.  Evan  Spicer,  and  £300  from  Mr.  Higgins.  The 
collections  and  promises  on  the  opening  day  amounted 
to  £450. 

In  1900  a  ''Twentieth  Century  Fund"  was  com- 
menced, with  the  object  of  materially  reducing  the 
debt.  So  successful  was  this  effort  that  when  the  fund 
was  closed,  March  31,  1901,  a  thousand  guineas  had 
been  raised.  In  1902  a  new  organ,  costing  about  £600, 
was  placed  in  the  church.  This  was  opened  free  of 

In  1906  Mr.  Ramsey  felt  the  need  of  assistance  in  his 
labours,  and  Rev.  Herber  Austin  Evans,  B.A.,  of 
Exeter  and  Mansfield  Colleges,  Oxford,  was  appointed 


assistant  minister.  This  arrangement,  however,  lasted 
only  till  the  summer  of  1907,  when  Mr.  Ramsey  was 
constrained  by  the  infirmities  of  advancing  age  to  retire 
from  the  active  duties  of  the  ministry,  which  he  had 
faithfully  and  fruitfully  sustained  for  fifty  years.  Mr. 
Evans  thereupon  removed  to  a  church  at  Aberdeen. 

Although  one  of  the  youngest  churches  in  South 
London,  Emmanuel  ranks  as  one  of  the  most  vigorous. 
Nearly  all  the  foremost  preachers  of  every  Evangelical 
denomination  have  occupied  its  pulpit,  and  written 
their  names  in  the  pulpit  register  which  is  preserved  in 
the  vestry.  Up  to  December,  1905,  no  less  than  1,138 
names  had  been  entered  on  the  church-roll,  and  the 
present  membership  stands  at  437.  The  pastorate  is 
now  vacant. 



The  church  at  Purley  is  the  outcome  of  temperance 
work  that  was  initiated  there  about  eighteen  years  ago. 
Messrs.  Leggatter,  Cooper,  Parker,  Robertson,  Gorringe, 
Bashford,  and  a  number  of  others,  having  carried  on 
that  work  with  considerable  success,  approached  Mr. 
Henry  Sell  in  1891,  and  asked  him  to  join  with  them 
in  erecting  a  building  in  which  they  might  hold  their 
meetings.  In  consequence  of  their  joint  efforts  an  iron 
structure  to  accommodate  150  persons  was  built  in 
1892  ;  services  were  commenced  on  Sunday  evenings, 
and  subsequently  in  the  mornings  also,  with  a  school  in 
the  afternoon.  The  pulpit  was  supplied  by  lay  preachers, 
who  often  came  considerable  distances  and  gave  their 
services  freely.     Amongst  them  were  Messrs.   Wilks, 

New  Congregational  Church,  Purley,   1904. 

Purley  Congregational  Church  (Interior). 



Halsey,  Priestly,  Sly,  Couchman,  Hanscombe,  Parker, 
and  Revs.  Edwin  Corbold  and  John  Thornberry. 

After  a  while,  it  was  felt  by  many  of  the  congrega- 
tion that  they  ought  to  unite  with  some  Nonconformist 
body,  and  Mr.  Sell  strongly  recommended  that  they 
should  throw  in  their  lot  with  the  Congregationalists. 
They  approached  the  church  at  George  Street,  Croydon, 
and  Mr.  Arnold  Pye-Smith,  J. P.,  came  over  with  other 
gentlemen,  and  explained  the  principles  of  Congrega- 
tionalism, with  the  result  that  a  Congregational  church 
was  formed. 

In  October,  1896,  Rev.  H.  J.  Hay  ward  was  invited 
to  take  charge  for  one  year,  after  which,  as  the  finances 
were  small,  the  church  was  supplied  by  local  friends 
and  students. 

In  1901  the  Rev.  F.  W.  Turner,  who  had  previously 
laboured  for  eleven  years  at  South  Norwood,  accepted 
the  pastorate  for  one  year,  which  was  afterwards 
extended  to  a  second.  At  the  end  of  this  period,  he 
left  England  to  take  up  work  in  British  Guiana.  After 
a  short  interval,  the  Rev.  Arthur  Pringle,  late  of  Cater- 
ham,  consented  in  March,  1904,  to  act  as  minister-in- 
charge  for  twelve  months. 

In  1903.  in  consequence  of  the  rapid  extension  of  the 
neighbourhood,  it  was  felt  that  the  time  had  come  to  build 
a  new  church,  and  a  capital  site  in  the  main  Brighton 
Road  was  secured  from  the  Ecclesiastical  Commissioners. 
Mr.  Sell  and  other  friends  threw  themselves  into  the 
work  with  such  energy  that  soon  £2,000  (one-third  of  the 
necessary  amount)  was  secured,  and  the  committee  felt 
justified  in  beginning  to  build.  It  was  decided  to  erect 
first  the  main  body  of  the  church  at  a  cost  of  £3,700, 
retaining  the  iron  building  as  a  Sunday  school.  On 
Thursday,  October  15,  1903,  the  memorial  stone  of  the 


new  building  was  laid  by  Alderman  Evan  Spicer,  J. P., 
L.C.C. ;  and  on  September  22,  1904,  the  long-cherished 
hopes  of  the  friends  were  fulfilled,  as  the  door  of  the 
new  church  was  opened  by  Mr.  Gaius  Idiens,  in  the 
presence  of  a  large  number  of  ministers  and  other  well- 
wishers.  By  the  time  of  opening,  the  subscriptions 
(including  collections  on  that  day)  amounted  to  £3,000. 
On  November  23  Rev.  A.  Pringle  was  invited,  and 
accepted  the  invitation  to  become  the  permanent 
minister  of  this  most  promising  field  of  labour. 



The  rapid  development  of  this  residential  district 
rendered  the  establishment  of  a  Congregational  church 
highly  desirable.  The  neighbouring  church  at  Camber- 
well  Green  warmly  supported  the  project,  which  was 
aided  by  the  London  Congregational  Union  with  a 
building  grant  of  £1,000.  In  the  spring  of  1902  intro- 
ductory services  were  commenced  at  "  Casino  House," 
under  the  direction  of  Rev.  W.  Farren,  and  were  well 
attended.  A  church  was  organised  in  1904,  and  on 
June  11  of  the  same  year  a  beautiful  church  edifice  was 
opened  with  a  sermon  by  Rev.  G.  Campbell  Morgan, 
D.D.  The  building  seats  450,  and  is  capable  of  exten- 
sion ;  the  cost  was  about  £8,300,  of  which  a  large 
portion  was  given  by  Miss  Keen,  of  Streatham  Hill.  The 
site  is  held  on  a  lease  of  500  years  from  the  governors 
of  Dulwich  College,  at  a  nominal  ground  rent. 

In  September,  1905,  Rev.  A.  C.  Turberville,  from 
Cheltenham,  undertook  the  pastorate,  which  he  still 

Grafton   Square  Church,  Clapham,   1S52. 




There  are  few  parts  of  London  so  near  to  the  centre 
that  present  more  desirable  features  for  residence  than 
Clapham.  Situated  on  the  southern  heights,  near  to 
the  city,  with  its  open  common,  and  substantial  houses, 
it  has  preserved  its  suburban  character  while  districts 
more  remote  have  become  congested  and  squalid.  Few 
places  have  been  more  identified  with  Evangelical 
religion  than  Clapham.  To  enumerate  the  philanthro- 
pists and  influential  men  and  women  who  have  lived 
here  would  take  space  far  beyond  the  limits  of  this 
volume.  Wilberforce,  Macaulay,  Thornton,  Henry 
Venn,  and  Fowell  Buxton  are  just  a  few  that  occur  to 
one's  mind.  It  was  only  to  be  expected  that  this 
district  would  become  a  stronghold  of  Nonconformity 
and  that  its  history  would  commence  with  the  history 
of  Nonconformity  itself. 

No  less  than  eight  of  the  ejected  ministers  resided 
here  at  one  time  or  another.  John  Arthur,  D.D., 
ejected  from  his  living  in  this  parish,  was  one,  spoken  of 
by  Calamy  as  a  very  considerable  man,  and  a  moderate 

Richard   Jennings   came   after   his   ejectment    from 


Combes  in  Suffolk,  and  spent  here  the  latter  part  of 
his  life.  He  was  a  man  of  unaffected  piety  and  a 
considerable  scholar.  It  is  said  of  him  that  he  retained 
his  juvenile  learning  to  an  advanced  age,  and  was  able 
to  preach  without  notes  at  92  ;  he  passed  through  the 
world  without  noise  or  ostentation,  and  without  ever 
appearing  in  print. 

Here  also  lived  Henry  Wilkinson,  once  Canon  of 
Christchurch  and  Senior  Fellow  of  Magdalen  College, 
and  Margaret  Professor  of  Divinity,  Oxford.  After  his 
ejectment  he  is  reported  to  have  ministered  at  All- 
hallows,  Lombard  Street,  and  subsequently  to  have 
kept  an  open  meeting  at  Clapham,  where  he  died  June, 
1675.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Westminster  Assembly, 
a  good  scholar,  a  close  student,  and  an  excellent  preacher. 

Another  ejected  minister  was  John  Hutchinson,  M.A., 
ejected  from  the  fellowship  of  Trinity  College,  Cam- 
bridge. After  practising  as  a  doctor  at  Hitchin  for 
nearly  30  years,  he  lived  two  years  at  Clapham,  where 
he  practised  physic  with  great  success.  He  afterwards 
removed  to  Hackney,  where  he  kept  a  boarding  school 
and  died  February  9,  17 15. 

Thomas  Lye  was  for  some  time  minister  of  Chard  in 
Somersetshire,  and  one  of  the  Triers  of  ministers  in 
those  parts.  He  was  chosen  by  the  parishioners  of 
Allhallows,  Lombard  Street,  as  their  minister,  and  was 
much  esteemed  for  his  skill  in  catechising  the  young. 
Calamy  makes  no  mention  of  his  residing  in  Clapham, 
but  the  State  papers  show  that  on  April  11,  1672,  he 
applied  for  a  licence  for  his  house  and  person  at 
Clapham.  This  was  at  first  refused,  but  subsequently 
granted  April  30. 

Onesiphorus  Rood,  ejected  from  Westminster  New 
Chapel,  also  lived  here,  and  preached  frequently  in  the 


time  of  William  III.  He  had  been  Chaplain  to  the 
House  of  Lords  after  the  Bishops  were  expelled. 

It  is  said  that  a  church  was  formed  in  Clapham  as 
early  as  between  1640  and  1650  by  William  Bridge, 
M.A.,  of  Yarmouth  ;  but  there  is  no  authentic  informa- 
tion on  the  subject,  and  Calamy  does  not  mention  it. 
The  earliest  records  are  the  licences.  In  addition  to 
the  one  for  Thomas  Lye  already  referred  to,  a  licence 
was  granted  in  April,  1672,  to  Henry  Wilkinson, 
Presbyterian,  for  his  house  or  the  schoolroom ;  and  in 
September  of  the  same  year  to  William  Hughes, 
Presbyterian,  at  his  house. 

In  these  private  houses,  then,  the  early  church  met. 

Philip  Lamb  appears  to  have  been  the  next  minister. 
Before  his  ejectment  he  had  been  pastor  at  Bere  Regis 
in  Dorset,  where  he  began  his  ministry  at  twenty-one 
years  of  age.  After  the  indulgence  he  continued  to 
preach  in  Dorset,  but  when  the  licences  were  called  in, 
Mr.  Lamb  removed  with  his  family  to  Clapham,  where 
he  spent  the  rest  of  his  days.  During  his  pastorate  the 
church  met  in  the  house  of  Madame  Gould.  He  died 
March  25,  1689,  aged  67. 

Edward  Grace  was  the  next  minister.  He  succeeded 
Mr.  Lamb  in  1690,  and  died  in  1714.  In  1697  there 
was  also  an  afternoon  preacher,  Edward  Batson. 

Moses  Lowman  then  held  the  pastorate.  Born  in 
London  in  1680,  he  was  originally  intended  for  the  Bar, 
and  entered  the  Middle  Temple  in  1697,  but  he  relin- 
quished it  to  study  for  the  Dissenting  ministry.  With 
this  view  he  went  to  Holland  in  1699,  where  he  studied 
at  Utrecht  and  Leyden.  On  his  return  to  England  in 
1710  he  was  chosen  assistant  to  Mr.  Grace.  After- 
wards, in  1714,  he  was  ordained  sole  pastor,  and  held 
the  charge  till  his  death,    May  3,    1752.      He  was  a 


greater  writer  than  preacher.  His  style  was  rugged 
and  awkward,  and  little  calculated  to  attract  the 
attention  of  an  audience.  One  man  of  intelligence  who 
continually  heard  him  used  to  declare  that  he  never 
could  understand  him.  He  was  the  author  of  a  learned 
book  on  Jewish  antiquities. 

Dr.  Philip  Furneaux  was  the  next  minister.  He 
was  born  in  1726  at  Totnes.  Before  coming  to 
Clapham  he  was  for  three  years  assistant  at  St. 
Thomas',  Southwark.  During  his  pastorate  he 
preached  at  Salter's  Hall  alternately  with  Dr.  Price  for 
many  years.  He  was  a  man  of  great  ability  and  took  a 
prominent  part  in  public  affairs,  especially  as  a  champion 
of  religious  liberty ;  but,  like  many  others  in  the 
eighteenth  century,  he  seems  to  have  failed  in  his 
presentation  of  Evangelical  truth. 

Till  this  time  the  congregation  had  worshipped  first  in 
a  wooden  building  in  Nag's  Head  Lane,  and  then  in  a 
small  brick  building  in  the  same  locality ;  but  in  1762, 
a  substantial  church  was  built  in  Clapham  Old  Town. 
Dr.  Furneaux  held  the  pastorate  from  about  1754  till 
1778.  Over-taxed  by  literary  work,  his  mind  at 
last  gave  way,  and  he  died  in  a  private  asylum  at  the 
comparatively  early  age  of  57,  November  23,  1783. 

During  Dr.  Furneaux's  pastorate,  the  rules  which 
guided  the  church  for  more  than  half  a  century  were 
drawn  up.  They  provide,  amongst  other  things,  that 
the  minister  and  clerk  be  chosen  by  subscribers,  but 
only  those  are  entitled  to  vote  who  have  paid  their 
subscription  for  twelve  months  before  the  commence- 
ment of  the  vacancy.  Lady  subscribers  are  allowed  to 
vote  by  proxy.  No  mention  is  made  of  church  members 
— apparently  the  church  member  in  the  modern  sense 
was  unrecognised.     Rules  were  drawn  up  also  for  the 


allotment  of  pews,  unhappily  they  are  not  extant,  but 
it  would  appear  that  a  pew  once  allotted  was  a  kind  of 
freehold,  and  any  alteration  was  a  serious  matter. 

On  September  7,  1778,  the  name  of  Thomas  Urwick 
was  placed  before  the  church  for  the  vacant  pastorate. 
The  voting  was  by  ballot.  He  obtained  27  votes  out 
of  28,  and  accordingly  became  minister.  Mr.  Urwick, 
who  was  born  at  Shrewsbury,  had  been  a  student  under 
Dr.  Doddridge.  According  to  a  writer  in  the  Gentleman's 
Magazine,  Mr.  Urwick  had  an  ungraceful  manner  of 
delivery  which  prevented  him  from  becoming  a  popular 
preacher,  though  his  originality  of  character  rendered 
him  a  most  entertaining  companion.  Under  his 
ministry,  however,  the  congregation  so  improved  that 
it  became  necessary  to  erect  two  new  galleries. 

In  1791  the  question  of  a  co-pastor  was  mooted. 
Nothing  seems,  however,  to  have  been  settled  till  April 
27,  1795,  when  the  Rev.  B.  Carpenter,  of  Stourbridge, 
was  elected  to  the  office.  His  views  were  decidedly 
Unitarian.  He  commenced  his  ministry  the  following 
Christmas  and  continued  till  January  26,  1800.  Mr. 
Urwick,  who  appears  to  have  retired  somewhat  earlier, 
died  in  1807,  aged  81. 

Some  of  the  old  records  of  these  days  are  very  inte- 
resting. In  1781  they  desired  to  ventilate  the  chapel, 
so  they  resolved  "  that  an  aperture  be  made  in  the 
ceiling  of  three  foot  diameter."  Simple,  but  whether 
efficacious  is  not  recorded.  In  1795  it  was  decided  to 
warm  the  chapel.  A  certain  Mr.  Moyser  was  com- 
missioned to  put  in  a  stove  at  a  cost  of  £40,  on  condition 
— no  cure,  no  pay.  This  condition  led,  three  or  four 
years  later,  to  a  lawsuit. 

On  August  10,  1800,  Rev.  James  Phillips,  of  Haver- 
fordwest, was  elected  pastor.     He  was  a  man  of  amiable 



disposition  and  universally  beloved.     He  died  in  1824, 
regretted  by  the  church  and  the  whole   neighbourhood. 

The  same  year  Rev.  George  Brown  became  pastor. 
After  sixteen  years  he  re-igned  to  take  the  Secretaryship 
of  the  British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society.  Mr.  Edward 
Miller,  of  Putney,  became  his  assistant  in  1835. 

Mr.  Brown  was  followed  in  February,  1839,  by  Rev. 
William  Bean,  but  he  resigned  the  following  Michaelmas. 

Rev.  James  Hill  was  the  next  pastor.  He  was  a 
native  of  Stafford,  where  he  was  born  May  17,  1795. 
He  was  encouraged  to  give  himself  to  the  ministry  by 
Rev.  John  Angel  James,  of  whose  church  he  was  a 
member.  His  ambition  was  to  be  a  missionary,  and 
after  studying  the  gospel  he  went  to  Calcutta,  where  he 
laboured  for  thirteen  years  at  Union  Chapel.  Then, 
through  failure  of  health,  he  returned  to  England. 

On  his  return  home  he  undertook  the  pastorate  of 
George  Lane,  Oxford,  for  four  years,  and  subsequently 
removed  to  Salford,  where  he  remained  two  years. 
On  Mr.  Bean's  retirement  he  was  called  to  Clapham, 
and  commenced  his  ministry  January,  1841.  For 
twenty-one  years  he  laboured  devotedly  in  this 
important  position,  and  with  the  able  co-operation 
of  such  men  as  Messrs.  J.  Kemp-Welch,  Sturt, 
George  F.  White,  Edward  Colman  and  others, 
raised  at  a  cost  of  £11,000  the  noble  structure  in 
Grafton  Square  which  was  opened  September,  1852. 

In  i860  he  was  called  to  the  chair  of  the  Congre- 
gational Union.  He  also  acted  on  the  committee 
appointed  by  the  Union  to  prepare  the  New  Congre- 
gational Hymn  Book. 

Failing  health  compelled  his  retirement  in  1862.  He 
removed  to  Hove,  Brighton,  where  he  ministered  for 
three  years,  and  died  on  Wednesday,  January  12,  1870. 

Rev.  J.  Guinness  Rogers,  B.A.,  D.D. 


Mr.  Hill's  abilities  were  of  a  high  order;  he  was  "  a 
useful  and  earnest  expositor  of  God's  Word,  a  helper 
of  the  devotional  spirit,  ...  the  comforter  of  many  in 
the  chambers  of  affliction,  and  the  guide  of  others 
from  a  state  of  ignorance  and  sin,  to  the  happiness 
which  springs  from  faith  in  Christ  Jesus." 

It  is  impossible  to  compress  any  adequate  account  of 
the  ministry  that  followed  within  the  limits  allowed  by 
this  volume.  A  ministry  almost  national  in  its  charac- 
ter, so  crowded  in  incident,  and  so  close  to  us  still, 
demands  what  it  has  received,  a  volume  to  itself. 

James  Guinness  Rogers  was  born  at  Enniskillen  on 
December  29,  1822.  His  father  was  an  agent  of  the 
Irish  Evangelical  Society,  but  later  accepted  an  invita- 
tion to  a  Congregational  Church  at  Prescot  near 
Liverpool.  In  this  town  almost  the  whole  of  his 
early  life  was  passed.  He  received  his  training  at 
Trinity  College,  Dublin,  where  he  graduated  B.A., 
and  afterwards  at  Lancashire  Independent  College,' 
where  Alexander  Raleigh  and  Enoch  Mellor  were 
among  his  fellow  students.  He  was  barely  twenty- 
three  years  of  age  when  called  to  St.  James's  Chapel, 
Newcastle,  and  not  quite  twenty-nine  when  his  minis- 
try there  closed.  But  even  in  that  period  of  life  he 
had  been  placed  in  the  important  position  of  Secretary 
of  the  County  Union.  In  1851  he  removed  to  Albion 
Chapel,  Ashton-under-Lyne,  where,  in  addition  to  his 
pastoral  labours  he  was  thrown  largely  into  the  impor- 
tant aggressive  work  of  that  great  county. 

Dr.  Rogers  tells  in  his  "Autobiography"  how  on 
one  occasion  when  visiting  London  he  passed  along 
the  road  near  Clapham  Junction  and  saw  the  spire  of 
Grafton  Square  Church  looking  down  upon  a  bright 
and  cheery  landscape.     "Ah,"   said  he,  "if  I  was  to 

N    2 


move,  that  is  the  very  place  that  would  be  likely  to 
tempt  me."  Two  years  later  it  did  successfully  tempt 
him,  although  at  that  time  he  had  no  idea  of  leaving 

In  1865  he  was  invited  to  succeed  Mr.  Hill.  A  four 
years'  vacancy  had  sorely  tried  the  cause,  the  numbers 
had  sadly  fallen  off,  and  although  a  considerable  nucleus 
of  strong  men  remained,  a  great  work  of  restoration 
had  to  be  accomplished. 

Clapham  even  in  those  days  was  still  in  the  country. 
Stately  mansions,  standing  in  their  own  grounds,  lined 
the  common,  and  fields  stretched  where  now  there  is 
a  waste  of  bricks  and  mortar.  It  was  the  home  of 
well-to-do  city  men,  and  those  who  had  retired  from 
active  life  to  spend  the  evening  of  their  days.  But  even 
then  the  change  had  begun,  and  during  Dr.  Rogers's 
pastorate  it  was  to  be  transformed  from  a  rural  retreat 
into  a  modern  suburb. 

For  thirty  years  Dr.  Rogers  maintained  a  most  success- 
ful ministry,  gathering  around  him  men  of  culture  and 
position,  but  never  forgetting  the  gospel  to  the  poor. 
During  his  pastorate  the  church  at  Stormont  Road 
(Lavender  Hill)  was  built,  and  the  first  members  and 
workers  supplied  by  the  Clapham  Church.  Two  Sun- 
day school  buildings  were  erected,  one  in  the  immediate 
neighbourhood  of  Grafton  Square,  and  the  other  in  a 
different  district  more  adapted  for  mission  purposes. 

On  the  wider  ministry  that  Dr.  Rogers  has  rendered 
to  his  denomination,  to  the  church  at  large,  and  to  the 
nation,  it  is  impossible  here  to  dwell.  He  has  been  for 
many  years  a  foremost  representative  of  Nonconformity. 
In  the  great  controversies  of  the  Victorian  era  he  has 
been  the  champion  of  its  rights  and  liberties.  He  has 
been  the  sturdy  opponent  of  privilege  and  the  unsparing 


denouncer  of  wrong.  His  voice  and  pen  have  been 
eloquent  for  progress  and  religious  equality. 

More  than  thirty  years  ago  (1874)  he  passed  to  the 
chair  of  the  Congregational  Union,  and  later  the 
University  of  Edinburgh  conferred  upon  him  the  degree 
of  Doctor  of  Divinity. 

Earl)'  in  1900  Dr.  Rogers  closed  his  ministry  at 
Clapham,  but  his  ministry  to  the  churches  still 

In  1902  the  present  minister,  Rev.  Edward  William 
Lewis,  M.A.,  was  invited  to  the  vacant  pastorate. 
Mr.  Lewis  was  a  student  of  Lancashire  College.  He 
had  previously  held  charges  in  Hamilton  Square  Church, 
Birkenhead,  and  Swanhill,  Shrewsbury. 


(1662— 1775) 

No  town  in  Surrey  has  a  longer  or  more  interesting 
history  than  the  ancient  county  town  of  Kingston. 
Many  traces  of  Roman  occupation  have  been  found  in 
the  neighbourhood,  and  some  historians  affirm  that 
here  Caesar  forded  the  Thames  after  defeating  Cassi- 
velaunus  and  the  Britons,  though  others  place  the 
actual  crossing  some  miles  further  up  the  river.  It 
was  certainly  a  place  of  importance  in  Anglo-Saxon 
times  ;  here  Ethelwulf  (or,  as  some  say,  Egbert)  sum- 
moned his  Witenagemote  in  838,  and  here,  in  the  tenth 
century,  no  fewer  than  seven  Saxon  kings  are  said  to 
have  been  crowned  on  the  old  stone  which  is  still  pre- 
served as  a  public   monument.     About  four   of  them 


there  is  no  doubt.  Athelstan  in  924,  Eadred  in  946, 
Edwy  in  955,  and  Ethelred  in  978.  In  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  Chronicle  the  town  is  named  Cyningestun,  and 
in  Domesday  Book  Chingestune.  Among  the  local 
archives  is  a  charter  granted  by  King  John  in  1209. 
Here,  in  1554,  Sir  Thomas  Wyatt  crossed  the  river  in  his 
chivalrous  but  ill-advised  effort  to  replace  Queen  Jane 
upon  the  throne.  And  in  the  market  place  of  Kingston, 
early  in  1642,  the  first  attempt  was  made  to  gather  an 
armed  force  for  King  Charles  against  the  liberties  of 
the  nation. 

Kingston  is  intimately  associated  with  one  of  the 
pioneers  of  Evangelical  Nonconformity.  John  Udal,  a 
man  of  great  learning  and  genuine  piety,  held  the 
parochial  benefice  for  several  years,  until  some  of  his 
hearers,  displeased  at  his  faithful  teaching,  complained 
of  him  to  the  authorities.  He  had  written  a  dialogue 
on  "  The  State  of  the  Church  of  England,"  and  "  A 
Demonstration  of  the  Truth  of  that  Discipline  which 
Christ  hath  presented  ...  for  the  Government  of  His 
Church."  The  discipline  which  he  advocated  was 
substantially  Presbyterianism,  for  which,  in  1588,  he 
was  deorived  and  imprisoned.  Released  through  the 
influence  of  the  Countess  of  Warwick  and  others,  he 
went  to  Newcastle,  but  in  1590  he  was  summoned  to 
London  and  tried  for  what  was  alleged  to  be  a  seditious 
publication.  He  was  actually  condemned  to  death, 
not,  it  would  seem,  with  any  intention  of  executing 
the  sentence,  but  to  terrify  him  into  a  recantation.  His 
punishment  was  commuted  to  exile,  but  while  arrange- 
ments were  being  made  to  send  him  abroad,  he  died  in 
prison  in  1592.  Udal  was  the  author  of  the  first 
Hebrew  Grammar  in  the  English  language. 

Rev.   Edmund  Staunton,  D.D.,  son  of  Sir  Francis 


Staunton,  of  Woburn,  was  vicar  of  Kingston  during 
the  Civil  War.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Westminster 
Assembly.  In  1648  he  was  made  President  of  Corpus 
Christi  College,  Oxford,  from  which  he  was  ejected  in 
1660.  He  then  removed  to  Bovington,  Herts,  where 
he  preached  in  private  until  his  death  in  1671. 

But  the  continuous  history  of  Nonconformity  in 
Kingston  begins  with  Richard  Mayo.  He  was  born 
about  1630,  entered  on  the  ministry  while  very  young, 
and  after  the  removal  of  Dr.  Staunton  became  vicar  of 
Kingston.  While  resident  here  he  preached  a  weekly 
lecture  at  Whitechapel,  where  multitudes  thronged  to 
hear  him ;  this  he  continued  for  some  years. 

Mayo  was  ejected  from  his  vicarage  by  the  Act  of 
Uniformity  in  1662,  after  which  he  preached  to  a  little 
company  of  the  faithful  in  private  houses.  Whether 
he  actually  organised  a  church  is  uncertain,  but  in  the 
list  of  conventicles  obtained  by  Archbishop  Sheldon  in 
1669  we  find  two  reported  from  Kingston.  One  was  in 
a  house  called  Downhall,  having  about  100  mixed 
adherents,  with  Mr.  Mayo  and  others  as  teachers  ;  the 
other  consisted  of  about  forty  Quakers. 

Among  the  licences  granted  under  the  Indulgence  in 
1672  are  three  for  Kingston  ;  one  of  them  is  granted  to 
Richard  Mayo,  at  the  house  of  John  Pigot. 

On  leaving  Kingston,  Mayo  went  to  London.  He 
first  preached  at  Buckingham  House,  College  Hill ; 
afterwards  the  celebrated  meeting  house  adjoining 
Salters'  Hall  was  built  for  him.  Here  he  had  a  large 
and  flourishing  congregation.  He  died  September  8, 
1695,  leaving  two  sons  in  the  ministry ;  one  was  a 
Conformist,  of  the  other  we  shall  hear  later  as  Non- 
conformist pastor  at  Kingston. 

After    Richard    Mayo's   removal,    Francis    Keeling 


preached  to  the  little  flock.  He  had  been  ejected  from 
Cogshot,  or  Cockshutt,  in  Shropshire.  He  had  married 
a  woman  of  good  family,  and  was  greatly  exercised  in 
mind  as  to  his  duty  in  prospect  of  the  Act  of  Unifor- 
mity. But  his  wife  bade  him  "  Satisfy  God  and  his 
own  conscience,  though  it  exposed  her  to  bread  and 
water."  He  appears  to  have  suffered  some  persecution, 
though  he  was  not  imprisoned.  After  his  ejectment  he 
lived  successively  at  Wrexham,  Shrewsbury,  and 
London,  and  settled  at  Kingston  under  King  James's 
Indulgence,  1687.     He  died  there  on  April  14,  1690. 

Mr.  Keeling  was  succeeded  by  John  Goffe,  of  whom 
little  is  known.  He  published  a  discourse  on  "  Self- 
examination,"  which  is  still  extant.  He  was  assisted 
by  John  Mottershead,  who  was  afterwards  assistant  at 
Monkwell  Street,  and  later  pastor  at  Ratcliffe. 

The  next  pastor  was  Daniel  Mayo,  M.A.,  son  of  the 
ejected  vicar.  He  had  been  educated  at  Glasgow  and 
Leyden,  and  lived  for  some  years  in  Holland.  His 
first  charge  was  at  Westminster,  as  assistant  to  Vincent 
Alsop ;  he  did  not  remain  long  there,  but  accepted  the 
charge  of  Kingston  in  1698.  Sixteen  years  later  he  was 
chosen  pastor  at  Hackney  in  succession  to  Matthew 
Henry,  but  continued  his  ministry  at  Kingston,  spend- 
ing the  Lord's  Day  at  the  two  places  alternately.  In 
1723  he  left  Hackney  for  Silver  Street,  still  retaining 
his  pastorate  at  Kingston.  He  also  lectured  at  Prince's 
Street,  Westminster.  He  had  two  assistants,  George 
Smith  and  Samuel  Bruce.     He  died  June  13,  1733. 

Mr.  Mayo  was  a  somewhat  copious  author.  He 
insisted  strongly  on  "  The  Necessity  of  a  Regular 
Mission  to  the  Ministry,"  and  just  as  strongly  com- 
bated the  alleged  exclusive  validity  of  Episcopal 


He  was  followed  by  Rev.  George  Wightwick,  from 
Lowestoft,  who  was  chosen  July  13,  1733-  During  his 
pastorate,  William  Plomer,  a  draper  in  Leadenhall 
Street,  bequeathed  (subject  to  the  life-interest  of  his 
wife)  £1,000  to  be  invested  for  the  use  of  the  Dissenting 
congregation  at  Kingston,  for  the  minister's  income 
and  support.  Mr.  Wightwick  died  in  1760,  and  his 
successor,  W.  Medcalfe,  or  Metcalfe,  resigned  in  1774. 
During  the  eighteenth  century,  but  especially  under 
Mr.  Medcalfe's  ministry,  the  church  suffered  severely 
from  the  Arian  blight,  which  at  that  time  so  widely 
affected  the  "  Old  Dissent."  The  usual  result  followed, 
and  the  congregation  dwindled  almost  to  the  point  of 
extinction.  What  immediately  followed  is  but  imper- 
fectly recorded,  and  not  easy  to  understand. 

It  seems  evident  that  the  church  had  until  now  been 
what  was  called  "  Presbyterian,"  that  is,  Independent, 
but  not  Congregational,  all  its  affairs  being  managed 
by  the  minister  and  officials.  In  1775  there  must  have 
been  a  separation.  In  that  year  a  Dr.  Luke  Moody 
was  ordained  at  Kingston  ;  and  an  entry  in  the  church 
book,  dated  November  21,  1775,  gives  a  list  of  those 
"who,  having  first  given  themselves  to  the  Lord,  are 
desirous  ...  of  joining  themselves  to  the  Lord's 
people,  and  to  have  sweet  communion  and  fellowship 
with  them  in  the  holy  ordinance  of  the  Lord's  Supper." 
Evidently  a  church  was  then  constituted  on  Congrega- 
tional lines.  The  old  Presbyterian  society,  however, 
continued  to  linger  in  a  moribund  condition  till  1806. 

Dr.  Moody  held  the  pastorate  for  about  five  years, 
and  was  succeeded  by  John  Townsend,  who  on  June  1, 
178 1,  "was  ordained  as  pastor  of  the  Independent 
Church  at  Kingston,  having  the[ir]  consent  to  model 
it  according  to  the  usual  order  of  that  denomination." 


From  the  first  Mr.  Townsend  was  opposed  by  the 
notorious  Antinomian  leader,  William  Huntington  and 
his  followers.  This  man  (who  lived  in  Kingston,  and 
preached  weekly  at  Richmond  and  Thames  Ditton) 
attended  the  ordination,  and  criticised  every  part  of  the 
service.  Mr.  Townsend  writes :  "  Every  effort  was 
made  by  the  party  that  could  be  devised  to  inculcate 
the  whole  church  and  congregation  with  their  unscrip- 
tural  sentiments,  and  with  their  more  mischievous 
temper.  Every  new  book  written  by  their  oracle,  Mr. 
H.,  was  circulated  with  the  utmost  avidity,  and  the 
most  uncandid  and  illiberal  construction  was  put  on 
every  sermon  I  preached  ;  and  some  even  of  the  most 
eminent  of  my  hearers,  in  seriousness  of  spirit,  and 
holiness  of  life,  were  maligned  as  Arminians  and  enemies 
of  the  Gospel."  So  violent  was  the  hostility  of  the 
party  that  Mr.  Townsend  had  to  appeal  to  the  magis- 
trates for  personal  protection.  The  end  of  it  was  that 
he  was  driven  from  the  town,  and  in  1784  accepted  an 
invitation  to  Jamaica  Row,  Bermondsey.  There,  too, 
he  was  assailed  by  the  Antinomians,  but  eventually 
succeeded  in  inducing  them  to  withdraw  from  the 

For  some  years  after  Mr.  Townsend's  removal,  the 
church  at  Kingston  was  in  an  unhappy  condition. 
There  was  no  settled  pastor,  but  the  pulpit  was  supplied 
by  preachers  from  London.  One  of  these,  a  Mr.  Abbott, 
advocated  "  believers'  baptism,"  which  led  to  a  Baptist 
secession.  The  Huntingtonians  tried  to  get  control  of  the 
church,  but  were  checked  by  the  firmness  of  one  or  two 
faithful  friends.  Gradually  the  interest  declined,  until 
the  whole  support  depended  on  two  or  three  individuals. 
One  of  these,  a  Mr.  Pratt,  is  mentioned  as  improving 
the  chapel.     At  length,  in  1798,  advice  and  assistance 


was  sought  from  some  London  ministers.  Acting  on 
that  advice,  the  church  was  supplied  for  some  time  by 
students  from  Hoxton  Academy  ;  their  services  proved 
acceptable,  and  the  congregation  increased. 

In  March,  1799,  the  church  was  again  reorganised. 
A  weekly  meeting  was  appointed  for  prayer  and  con- 
sultation, and  a  pastor  was  sought.  A  Hoxton  student, 
Mr.  William  Harris,  was  invited  to  spend  the  summer 
vacation  in  Kingston,  and  three  months  later  was  called 
to  the  pastorate.  He  was  ordained  on  April  8,  1801, 
on  which  occasion  Rev.  Rowland  Hill  preached  from 
Acts  ix.  31. 

The  church  at  this  time  worshipped  in  a  meeting 
house  in  Brick  Lane,  belonging  to  one  of  the  members, 
a  Mrs.  Russell.  On  her  death,  it  passed  into  other 
hands,  and  the  congregation  had  notice  to  leave  in  six 
months.  On  June  10,  1802,  it  was  resolved  to  build  a 
new  chapel,  which  was  opened  by  Revs.  Messrs.  Hughes 
and  J.  Clayton  on  Tuesday,  July  12,  1803.  The  con- 
tract price  was  £996  16s. 

In  1808  Mr.  Harris  removed  to  Cambridge.  He 
afterwards  became  principal  of  Highbury  College,  and 
died  in  1830.  He  was  succeeded  at  Kingston  by  Rev. 
James  Knight,  the  son  of  a  military  man,  born  at  Fort 
George,  near  Cromarty,  on  June  1,  1780.  He  was 
educated  at  Aberdeen  and  Hoxton,  and  was  for  a  short 
time  classical  tutor  in  the  last-named  academy. 

Mr.  Knight  was  ordained  on  November  8,  1808, 
Revs.  Yockney,  Townsend,  Hughes,  and  Dr.  A.  C. 
Simpson  taking  part  in  the  service.  He  laboured  suc- 
cessfully at  Kingston  for  twenty-two  years,  and  in 
addition  to  his  pastoral  work  he  prepared  young  men 
for  the  ministry  and  for  other  callings. 

The  bequest  of  Mr.  Plomer,  before  mentioned,  was 


administered  according  to  his  will  until  1806,  when  the 
old  Presbyterian  meeting  became  so  reduced  as  to  be 
unable  to  support  a  minister,  and  the  meeting  house 
was  closed.  In  1816  the  lease  expired,  the  ground  was 
sold  by  the  owner,  and  the  building  pulled  down.  The 
original  "  dissenting  congregation  "  being  thus  extinct, 
a  friendly  suit  in  Chancery  was  instituted  in  1818,  to 
decide  on  the  application  of  the  Plomer  endowment. 
The  Master  of  the  Rolls  enquired  if  there  were  any  dis- 
senting congregation  in  Kingston  to  which  the  dividends 
could  be  applied  ;  and  it  was  reported  that  the  congrega- 
tion, of  which  Rev.  James  Knight  was  pastor,  fulfilled  the 
conditions.  An  order  of  Court  was  made  to  this  effect ; 
and  after  payment  of  costs  the  sum  of  £439  9s.  4^.  was 
handed  over. 

In  1830  Mr.  Knight  removed  to  Sandwich,  and 
thirteen  years  later  to  Rye.  He  retired  from  the  latter 
pastorate  in  1846,  and  settled  in  Deal,  where  he  died  on 
March  31,  1864. 

His  successor  at  Kingston  was  Rev.  W.  Crowe,  who 
was  publicly  recognised  on  November  23,  1830.  The 
following  year  a  new  vestry,  etc.,  was  erected,  at  a  cost 
of  nearly  £500,  furnishing  accommodation  for  the 
Sunday  school,  and  week-night  services.  Mr.  Crowe 
resigned  in  1838  ;  and  after  a  long  interval  Rev.  John 
Edwards  accepted  the  pastorate  on  February  25,  1840. 
In  August,  1846,  he  tendered  his  resignation,  but  at  the 
wish  of  the  people  withdrew  it  and  remained  four 
years  longer.  During  his  ministry  there  was  encouraging, 
though  not  rapid,  progress. 

The  next  pastor  was  Rev.  Lawrence  H.  Byrnes, 
whose  life-story,  as  told  at  his  ordination,  was  remark- 
able. He  was  born  of  Roman  Catholic  parents,  at 
Swaffham  in  Norfolk,  in  1822.     In  his  boyhood  they 


removed  to  Wisbech,  where  there  was  no  Catholic  chapel. 
They  had  a  great  dislike  to  the  Established  Church  ; 
but  having  an  idea  that  the  Independents  were  "less 
bigoted  "  they  allowed  the  boy  to  go  to  the  Indepen- 
dent Sunday  school,  and  themselves  occasionally 
attended  the  services.  The  first  time  the  mother  did 
so  she  was  greatly  displeased  with  a  hymn  in  which  was 

the  line  : 

"  Nor  fear  the  wrath  of  Rome  and  Hell," 

but  as  young  Lawrence  had  become  attached  to  the 
Sunday  school  he  was  allowed  to  remain.  His  teacher 
was  George  Wilkinson  (afterwards  minister  at  Chelms- 
ford), by  whom  he  was  led  to  decision,  and  ere  long 
was  engaged  in  Christian  work  in  the  surrounding 
villages.  He  entered  Cheshunt  College  in  September, 
1845,  and  was  ordained  at  Kingston  on  May  22,  1851, 
the  officiating  ministers  being  Dr.  W.  H.  Stowell,  Dr. 
John  Harris,  Revs.  G.  Wood,  of  Bristol,  T.  W.  Aveling, 
of  Kingsland,  and  D.  T.  Archer. 

Kingston  was  now  rapidly  becoming  a  residential 
suburb  of  the  great  city.  A  more  commodious  place  of 
worship  was  evidently  desirable,  and  aid  was  sought 
from  the  London  Chapel  Building  Society.  A  new 
church,  with  accommodation  for  750  persons,  was 
opened  in  July,  1856.  The  design  was  completed  a  few 
years  later ;  the  finished  edifice  being  reopened  on 
November  8,  1863.  The  entire  cost  of  £"4,550  was  met 
within  eight  years  of  the  commencement  of  the  work. 
The  erection  of  the  church  at  Surbiton  was  also  due  to 
Mr.  Byrnes's  initiative. 

For  eighteen  years  the  earnest  and  cultured  ministry 
of  Mr.  Byrnes  continued  to  edify  the  church,  and  his 
gracious  and  gentle  character  is  still  held  in  grateful 
remembrance.      In  1869,  however,  the  delicate  health 


of  his  wife  compelled  him  to  remove  to  Clifton,  where 
he  succeeded  Rev.  Samuel  Luke  at  Pembroke  Chapel. 
There  he  ministered  till  1890,  and  after  a  period  of 
retirement  passed  amidst  universal  esteem  and  affection, 
died  on  July  4,  1902. 

In  1870  Mr.  George  Blinkhorn,  of  New  College, 
accepted  the  pastorate.  During  his  ministry  of  about 
four  years  the  church  declined  ;  and  in  1874  he  con- 
formed to  the  Established  Church. 

He  was  followed  by  Rev.  John  Pate,  another  New 
College  student,  who  for  three  years  had  held  the 
neighbouring  pastorate  of  Isleworth.  He  was  recog- 
nised as  pastor  on  October  6,  1874.  The  following 
year  the  church  was  renovated  ;  during  the  alterations 
the  services  were  held  in  the  Assize  Court.  The 
centenary  of  the  church  was  celebrated  on  December 
13,  1875,  sermons  being  preached  by  Rev.  Dr.  Halley. 
In  1881  Mr.  Pate  removed  to  Leeds,  and  subsequently 
to    Newbury   and   Sheffield,    in    which    city    he    still 


He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  John  Onley  of  Bristol, 
formerly  of  Wednesbury,  who  had  received  his  theo- 
logical training  at  Spring  Hill  College,  Birmingham. 
Under  his  care  the  church  grew  rapidly  in  numbers  and 
in  influence.  The  Sunday  school  became  so  crowded 
that  enlargement  was  necessary,  and  a  new  infants'  class- 
room was  built.  Mr.  Onley  took  an  active  part  in  the 
affairs  of  the  town,  and  was  the  first  president  of  the 
Free  Church  Council,  the  formation  of  which  he  had 
actively  promoted.  He  was  also  president  of  the 
Surrey  Congregational  Union  in  1903.  In  the  summer 
of  1900  failing  health  made  it  desirable  that  he  should 
have  some  assistance.  For  two  years  this  was  afforded 
by  Rev.  A.   E.  Snashall,   from   New  College,  who  in 


1902  left  to  become  pastor  at  Milton-next-Sittingbourne. 
He  was  followed  by  Rev.  D.  L.  Nichol,  from  Hackney 
College,  who  remained  till  Mr.  Onley's  retirement,  and 
then  accepted  a  call  to  Port  Elizabeth,  in  Cape  Colony. 

On  June  25,  1905,  Mr.  Onley  closed  his  faithful 
ministry  of  twenty-four  years,  amid  many  substantial 
expressions  of  appreciation  from  the  congregation  and 
townsfolk.  He  still  lives  in  Kingston,  in  honoured 

The  present  pastor  is  Rev.  J.  C.  Harris,  formerly 
minister  at  Cape  Town,  Johannesburg  and  Bognor. 
Mr.  Harris,  who  commenced  his  ministry  here  in  1906, 
is  working  with  much  energy  and  promise  of  success. 


(1662— 1813) 

On  the  banks  of  the  Thames,  some  eight  miles  from 
Charing  Cross,  lies  the  old  village  of  Mortlake, 
which  Fuller  calls  Moreclack,  and  another  old  writer, 

In  this  village  the  Archbishops  of  Canterbury  lived 
for  some  centuries,  till  Cranmer  made  over  the 
residence  to  Henry  VIII.  In  the  sixteenth  century 
Mortlake  was  famous  for  its  art  tapestries.  It  is  said 
that  King  James  I.  gave  £2,000  to  Sir  Francis  Crane  to 
build  a  house  at  Moreclack  for  their  production,  this 
being  the  first  attempt  of  the  kind  in  the  country.  It 
was  not,  however,  a  success,  and  although  afterwards 
carried  on  by  the  King  it  came  to  an  end  during  the 

These  tapestry  works  are  interesting,  as  in  1702  the 


Surveyor-General  reported  that  at  the  top  part  of  the 
tapestry  building  in  the  High  Street,  there  was  a 
chapel.  "  No  doubt,"  says  one  historian,  "  this  had 
been  fitted  up  soon  after  the  works  were  erected,  about 
1619,  where  foreigners,  including  Dutchmen,  were 
employed,  then  most  likely  of  the  faith  of  the  Reformed 
Continental  Churches,  and  therefore  exempt  under  the 
Act  from  persecution.  This  shows  without  doubt  the 
existence  of  Dissenters  from  that  early  date.  At  one 
time  the  parish  register  had  separate  pages  for  all 
entries  relating  to  Dissenters'  marriages,  etc."  The 
church  at  Mortlake,  however,  dates  from  the  ejectment 
in  1662,  when  Rev.  David  Clarkson,  B.D.,  vicar  of  the 
parish,  refused  to  subscribe  to  the  Act  of  Uniformity. 
David  Clarkson  was  born  at  Bradford,  in  Yorkshire,  in 
1622,  and  was  educated  at  Cambridge.  He  was  fellow 
of  Clare  Hall,  and  at  one  time  tutor  of  Archbishop 
Tillotson,  who  retained  a  sincere  regard  for  him  as  long 
as  he  lived. 

After  his  ejectment  Clarkson  seems  to  have  remained 
some  years  at  Mortlake,  devoting  himself  to  study, 
writing  controversial  works  against  Episcopacy  and 
Liturgies  which  are  still  deemed  valuable,  and  preach- 
ing to  the  few  folk  he  gathered  around  him.  Indepen- 
dency must  have  rapidly  increased,  as  the  Domestic 
State  Papers  in  1664  give  an  account  of  thirteen  fanatics 
at  East  Sheen,  where  conventicles  abound. 

On  the  issue  of  the  Indulgence  in  1672  Clarkson 
obtained  a  licence  to  preach  in  the  house  of  John 
Beamish,  in  High  Street,  Mortlake.  His  letter  of 
application,  addressed  to  Mr.  Matthew  Shepherd,  in 
Clement's  Lane,  and  still  preserved  among  the  State 
Papers,  contains  the  following  noteworthy  sentence  : — 
"  It  is  much  desired  the  license  may  be  for  the  use  of 

David  Clarkson,  B.D. 


such  as  are  of  the  persuasion  both  Presbyterian  and 
Congregational,  for  the  meeting  consists  of  both,  as  you 
know,  and  both  are  at  the  charge." 

How  long  Mr.  Clarkson  continued  to  teach  in 
Beamish's  house  we  do  not  know.  He  can  be  traced 
in  the  Mortlake  Register  as  far  as  July  4,  1672,  when 
his  daughter  Katherine  and  his  second  wife  Elizabeth 
were  baptised.  (This  suggests  that  the  parents  of  the 
latter  were  Baptists  or  Quakers.)  Then  we  lose  sight 
of  him  till  1682,  when  he  was  chosen  co-pastor  with 
Dr.  John  Owen  over  the  Independent  Church  in 
Leadenhall  Street  (afterwards  in  St.  Mary  Axe).  In 
the  meantime,  according  to  Neal,  he  shifted  from  one 
place  of  obscurity  to  another,  till  the  times  suffered  him 
to  appear  openly.  On  Dr.  Owen's  death  in  1683  he 
became  sole  pastor,  until  his  own  death  on  June  14, 
1686.  Dr.  Bates  in  his  funeral  sermon  speaks  of  him 
as  a  man  of  sincere  godliness  and  true  holiness,  and 
Mr.  Baxter  says,  "  He  was  a  divine  of  extraordinary 
worth  for  solid  judgment,  healing,  moderate  principles, 
acquaintance  with  the  fathers,  great  ministerial  abilities, 
and  a  godly  upright  life." 

Cotemporary  with  Mr.  Clarkson  was  Rev.  Richard 
Byfield,  M.A.,  the  oldest  minister  in  Surrey,  who  was 
ejected  from  Long  Ditton.  Mr.  Byfield  was  born  at 
Stratford-on-Avon,  where  his  father  was  vicar  in  Shake- 
speare's time.  He  was  a  man  who  evidently  had  the 
courage  of  his  convictions.  At  Ditton  he  had  attacked 
what  he  considered  to  be  the  superstitions  of  the  church, 
by  plucking  up  the  steps  leading  to  the  altar  and 
denying  the  sacrament  to  his  parishioners,  and  even  to 
his  patron,  unless  they  would  take  it  otherwise  than 
kneeling.  Calamy  says,  "  He  was  one  of  the  assembly, 
a  great  covenanter,  an  eager  preacher  against  bishops, 



ceremonies,  etc."  At  Mortlake  he  preached  twice  every 
Lord's-day  in  his  own  family,  and  probably  assisted 
Mr.  Clarkson.  He  seems  to  have  had  a  premonition  of 
his  death  some  days  before  it  happened.  On  Tuesday, 
December  26,  1664,  he  had  been  speaking  on  Rev.  viii.  1, 
when  he  was  seized  with  an  apoplectic  fit  and  passed 
away.  He  was  buried  in  Mortlake  Parish  Church, 
where  a  small  tablet  testifies  that  for  thirty-five  years 
he  painfully  and  constantly  taught  and  kept  the  word 
of  God. 

The  next  minister  was  also  one  of  the  two  thousand, 
Rev.  Edmund  Moore,  M.A.,  who  was  ejected  from 
Trinity  College,  Cambridge,  particularly  for  refusing  to 
wear  the  surplice.  After  his  ejectment  he  acted  as 
chaplain  to  Serjeant  Maynard,  with  whom  he  remained 
till  his  marriage.  Here  he  gained  some  knowledge  of 
law  which  became  useful  after  he  removed  to  East 
Sheen.  His  goods  on  one  occasion  were  illegally  seized, 
but  as  he  bade  the  people  buy  them  at  their  peril  they 
met  with  no  purchasers  and  were  subsequently  restored. 
He  was  a  man  of  great  sincerity,  had  good  skill  in 
music  and  played  the  bass  viol.     He  died  in  1689. 

Another  ejected  minister,  mentioned  in  connection 
with  Mortlake,  is  Rev.  Robert  Park,  of  East  Levant, 
Sussex.  Very  little  is  known  about  him.  Calamy 
says,  "  He  was  Congregational  in  his  judgment  but  a 
lover  of  peace." 

Tradition  also  associates  Dr.  Thomas  Jacomb,  the 
ejected  rector  of  St.  Martin's,  Ludgate,  with  Mortlake, 
but  Calamy  knows  nothing  of  this.  However,  his 
family  seem  to  have  resided  here. 

Of  "Mr.  Clark"  nothing  can  be  gathered,  except 
that  he  is  mentioned  as  a  minister  of  Mortlake  in  1715, 
in  which  year  he  died. 

Old  Chapel,   Mortlake. 

New  Congregational  Church,  Mortlake. 


In  1716  Rev.  William  Jacomb,  grandson  of  Dr. 
Thomas  Jacomb,  succeeded  Mr.  Clark.  At  his  own 
cost  he  built  the  old  Independent  Chapel  in  Sheen 
Lane,  a  quaint  old  building  that  lasted  long  enough  to 
become  the  oldest  Congregational  Chapel  in  the  London 
district.  Plain  and  bare  as  it  seems  to  us  to-day,  it 
was  once  spoken  of  as  an  "elegant  and  substantial 
chapel."  After  holding  the  pastorate  for  four  years, 
Mr.  Jacomb  removed  to  Maidstone,  and  was  followed 
in  1719  by  Rev.  Samuel  Highmore,  who  was  minister 
for  thirty-six  years  until  his  death  in  1755. 

On  Mr.  Highmore's  death  his  family  claimed  the 
chapel  as  private  property,  and  let  it  as  a  dwelling 
house.  What  immediately  followed  is  not  clear,  but 
a  remnant  of  the  congregation  is  said  to  have  held 
together,  though  for  nearly  half  a  century  they  had  no 
home,  and  for  nearly  sixty  years  no  settled  pastor.  At 
some  time  between  1766  and  1776  Dr.  Wilton,  of  Tooting 
(anticipating  the  aims  of  the  "  Surrey  Mission  "  nearly 
thirty  years  later)  organised  some  efforts  to  supply  the 
spiritual  needs  of  villages  where  a  minister  could  not 
be  sustained,  one  of  which  was  Mortlake.  Services 
were  conducted  first  in  the  open  air,  and  afterwards  in 
the  house  of  Mr.  Lowe,  at  the  east  end  of  the  High 
Street,  who  fitted  up  a  room  and  entertained  the 
preachers.  At  first  Dr.  Wilton  himself  occasionally 
preached  on  Sunday  evenings,  and  among  those  who 
assisted  in  the  work  later  the  celebrated  Rowland  Hill 
is  mentioned.  From  the  formation  of  the  Surrey 
Mission  in  1797,  Mortlake  was  one  of  its  stations. 

In  1802  an  attempt  was  made  to  regain  possession 
of  the  old  chapel,  but  this  being  unsuccessful,  a  piece 
of  leasehold  ground  was  obtained  at  the  corner  of  Sheen 
Lane  and  St.  Leonard's  Road,  where  a  small  building 

o  2 


was  erected.  According  to  the  Evangelical  Magazine 
this  was  done  under  the  patronage  of  the  London 
Itinerant  Society.  This  building  was  twice  enlarged. 
In  1813,  after  being  without  a  minister  for  fifty-eight 
years,  the  church  was  able  to  call  Rev.  W.  Field  to 
the  pastoral  office.  He  held  this  position  till  his  death 
in  1816. 

Five  years  again  elapsed  before  another  minister  was 
appointed.  The  Rev.  J.  Blackburn  became  pastor 
September  9,  1826.     He  resigned  in  1827. 

For  another  six  years  the  church  was  served  by 
supplies,  till  in  June,  1834,  Rev.  Charles  Riggs  undertook 
the  pastorate. 

Two  years  later  an  opportunity  occurred  for  pur- 
chasing the  lease  of  the  old  chapel  in  Sheen  Lane. 
One  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  was  required,  and  the 
money  was  found  by  Mr.  Wm.  Pocock,  a  market 
gardener  near  Kew,  who  took  over  the  second  chapel 
for  his  money,  and  converted  it  into  four  cottages.  On 
Wednesday,  June  15,  1836,  after  eighty-one  years' 
waiting,  amid  great  rejoicing  the  congregation  returned 
to  its  old  abode.  Rev.  Dr.  Leifchild  preached  in  the 
morning  from  Psalm  ii.  6.  Rev.  Thomas  Binney 
followed  in  the  evening  with  an  impressive  sermon 
from  Luke  xvi.  25,  "  Son,  remember."  Twenty  ministers 
by  their  presence  showed  their  sympathy  with  the 
rejoicing  church,  and  a  collection  of  £43  was  taken. 
After  the  morning  service  120  dined  in  the  building 
they  had  just  given  up. 

In  1840  Rev.  C.  Riggs  resigned,  and  the  Rev.  Charles 
G.  Townley,  LL.D.,  accepted  the  charge  in  March, 

Dr.  Townley  had  been  an  advocate  of  civil  law,  and 
had  held  a  temporary  commission  as  Judge  Advocate 


in  Malta.  He  was  somewhat  sceptical  in  his  tendencies, 
and  this  was  not  improved  by  what  he  saw  of  priest- 
craft on  the  continent.  His  conversion  was  due  to  his 
brother  Henry,  then  a  proctor  in  Doctor's  Commons, 
and  afterwards  a  missionary  to  Calcutta.  Henry  lent 
him  books  on  Christian  Evidences.  Dr.  Townley 
naturally  wished  to  see  what  the  other  side  had  to  say, 
so  his  brother  lent  him  Paine's  "Age  of  Reason."  He 
read  it  carefully  and  exclaimed,  "  If  this  is  all  the 
infidels  can  say  for  themselves,  theirs  is  a  sorry  case 
indeed."  Both  brothers  abandoned  their  professions 
and  studied  for  some  time  at  Hoxton. 

Afterwards  Dr.  Townley  settled  at  Limerick,  where 
he  translated  large  portions  of  the  Scriptures  into  the 
Irish  language.  On  his  settlement  at  Mortlake  he 
cleared  the  mortgage  debt  left  on  the  chapel,  and  built 
the  British  schoolroom  in  Worple  Way,  which  was 
opened  January  30,  1843.  This  schoolroom  has  also 
been  used  for  the  Sunday  school  of  the  church,  and  for 
a  large  number  of  religious  and  social  agencies.  A 
burial  ground  behind  the  schoolroom  was  also  secured, 
and  is  still  used  for  that  purpose. 

Dr.  Townley  resigned  in  1846.  He  was  succeeded 
in  1847  by  Rev.  Thomas  A.  Hall.  He  also  had  been 
designated  for  the  legal  profession,  but  feeling  called  to 
the  ministry  he  entered  Hackney  College.  He  supplied 
at  Mortlake  for  a  year,  and  was  encouraged  in  his  work  ; 
but  as  the  people  were  unable  to  afford  him  adequate 
support,  he  accepted  a  call  to  Godalming.  He  was 
followed  by  Rev.  S.  J.  Le  Blond,  from  Highbury  College, 
who  resigned  in  1851. 

Several  distinguished  men  have  occupied  the  Mort- 
lake pulpit,  but  none  perhaps  more  so  than  the  next 
pastor,  Rev.  Dr.  Ebenezer  Henderson. 


Dr.  Henderson  was  the  youngest  son  of  an  agricul- 
tural labourer,  and  was  born  at  Linn,  near  Dunferm- 
line, on  November  17,  1784.     On  the  completion  of  his 
college  course  at  Glasgow,  he  was  ordained  to  mission 
service  in  India  with  Dr.  Patterson.     For  some  reason 
he   did    not   get   further   than  Copenhagen,  where  he 
circulated  tracts  among  the  Danes  and  preached  to  the 
English.     Struck  by  the  great  scarcity  of  the  Scriptures, 
he  arranged  with  the  British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society 
to  become  their  agent.     The  next  few  years  he  spent 
in  travelling  through  the  northern  countries  of  Europe, 
forming  Bible  Auxiliaries.     On  his  return  to  England 
in  1826,  he  was  asked  to  fill  Dr.  Bogue's  place  at  the 
Gosport  Mission  college,  and  afterwards  removed  with 
that  institution  to  Hoxton.     In    1830  Dr.  Henderson 
was  invited  to  Highbury  College,  with  which  place  his 
name  will    always  be    associated.     Here  he  remained 
nineteen  years,  devoting  his  leisure  to  the  production 
of  many  important  works.     When  the  three   London 
Colleges  were  united  he  felt  he  was  too  far  advanced 
in  years  to  undertake  the  important  position  of  Principal, 
so  he  looked  for  a  small  charge  where  he  might  still  do 
good  service,  and  accepted  a  call  from  Mortlake  in  July, 
1852.     But    the   following   year   he   felt   compelled  to 
resign.     He  stood  up  to  preach  one  Sabbath  evening 
when  his  ideas  became  confused  ;  he  went  through  the 
sermon  somewhat  incoherently,  each  sentence  complete 
in    itself,    but    in    rambling    order,    and   with    unusual 
repetition.     After  a  few  weeks  rest,  he  tried  again  to 
preach,  but  the  attacks  were  repeated  and  he  had  to 
give  up  altogether.     But  he  still  attended  the  House  of 
God,  and  visited  his  people,  bearing  his  affliction  with 
exemplary  resignation.     He  died  on  May  15,  1858. 
Dr.   Henderson   took    a   firm    stand  with    regard  to 


church  rates.  On  one  occasion  the  churchwardens 
distrained  and  took  a  Bible,  which  they  subsequently 
offered  to  return.  He  told  them  to  "  keep  it  and  read 

One  prominent  worker  at  this  time  was  Mr.  John 
Doulton,  eldest  son  of  the  founder  of  the  great  pottery 
firm  at  Lambeth.  Through  him  an  organ  was  placed 
in  the  gallery  as  a  memorial  to  Dr.  Henderson.  For 
years  Mr.  Doulton  was  deacon  and  superintendent  of 
the  Sunday  school.  Another  worker  to  whom  the  church 
owes  much  was  John  Williams  Newby. 

After  Dr.  Henderson's  resignation  Rev.  T.  Clarke 
was  appointed  minister.  Little  is  known  of  his  pasto- 
rate. He  resigned  in  i860,  after  which  the  church  was 
supplied  with  preachers  from  Hackney  College  till 
1863,  when  Rev.  W.  Ritchie  took  the  pastorate, 
resigning  nineteen  months  later. 

In  1865  Rev.  Frederick  Brown,  of  Hackney,  was 
invited,  and  for  twenty-four  years  sustained  a  faithful 
ministry,  notwithstanding  circumstances  compelled 
him  to  live  at  a  distance.  Under  his  guidance  the 
church  prospered,  the  power  of  the  Holy  Spirit  was 
felt,  worshippers  increased,  the  Sunday  school  was 
revived,  and  the  membership  rose  in  a  few  years  from 
twenty  to  eighty. 

During  Mr.  Brown's  ministry  the  trust  of  the  British 
schoolroom  and  burial  ground  was  renewed,  the  free- 
hold of  the  chapel  was  secured,  and  a  new  trust 
appointed.  In  1868  the  interior  of  the  chapel  was 
renovated  at  a  cost  of  £"75.  After  twenty-four  years 
of  service  Mr.  Brown  felt  he  was  no  longer  equal  in 
physical  strength  to  the  growing  demands  of  the  work, 
and  on  Sunday,  September  8,  1889,  he  preached  his 
farewell  sermons. 


In  October,  1890,  Rev.  F.  Baron,  who  had  recently 
resigned  the  pastorate  at  Weybridge,  and  whose  story 
is  told  in  connection  with  that  church,  was  invited  to 
Mortlake  and  was  recognised  in  January,  1891.  In  the 
autumn  of  the  following  year  a  Sunday  Evening  Gospel 
Service  was  started  in  the  British  schoolroom,  and 
continues  until  this  day. 

In  1897  the  Sunday  school  held  its  centenary,  and 
decided  to  commemorate  the  event  by  building  a  new 
church.  Mortlake  had  by  this  time  become  a  growing 
suburb  of  London,  and  the  old  building  in  Sheen  Lane 
was  utterly  inadequate  to  the  needs  of  the  district.  A 
site  was  obtained  in  Vernon  Road,  East  Sheen,  and 
two  years  later  the  purchase  of  the  land  was  completed. 
Mr.  Baron  was,  however,  not  permitted  to  see  the  work 
accomplished.  His  health  failed  about  this  time  and 
it  soon  became  evident  that  his  work  was  done.  On 
Monday,  August  21,  1899,  at  the  age  of  seventy-six 
years,  he  entered  into  rest. 

After  an  interval  of  six  months,  an  invitation  was 
given  to  Rev.  Edward  Edney  Cleal,  of  South  Hackney, 
to  become  minister.  Mr.  Cleal,  who  was  trained  at 
Bristol  Theological  Institute  and  University  College, 
Bristol,  had  previously  held  pastorates  at  Wimborne 
and  Winton  (Bournemouth). 

Under  the  new  minister's  guidance  the  work  of  the 
church  vigorously  developed,  and  the  need  for  a  new 
building  became  each  week  more  pressing. 

In  1901  an  offer  was  made  for  the  old  chapel  in 
Sheen  Lane,  and  the  friends  were  able,  with  the  help 
of  the  London  Congregational  Union,  Mr.  R.  D.  Doul- 
ton,  Mr.  H.  L.  Doulton,  and  other  generous  contri- 
butors, to  commence  the  new  building.  On  June  26, 
foundation  stones  were  laid  by  Mr.   George  Newby,  of 


Wandsworth  (whose  father  had  been  for  many  years  a 
devoted  friend  of  the  cause),  Mr.  John  Newby,  and 
Mr.  C.  W.  Toms. 

On  the  last  night  of  1901,  after  the  Watch  Night 
Service,  a  little  crowd  stood  in  Sheen  Lane  outside 
the  old  chapel  which  nearly  two  centuries  before  had 
first  been  opened  for  the  worship  of  God.  The  door 
was  locked  by  Mr.  John  Newby,  senior  deacon  and 
Sunday  School  superintendent,  to  whose  long  and 
faithful  service  much  of  the  prosperity  of  the  church 
was  due.  Then  under  the  midnight  sky  the  Doxology 
was  sung,  and  the  Benediction  by  the  minister  closed 
the  history  of  the  oldest  chapel  in  Surrey. 

The  following  March  the  doors  of  the  new  church 
were  opened  by  Mrs.  Ronald  Doulton,  and  there  the 
old  historic  cause  of  Mortlake  has  renewed  its  youth. 



One  of  the  most  delightful  riverside  towns  that  lie  on 
the  banks  of  the  Thames  is  Chertsey.  The  town  owed 
its  earliest  importance  to  the  Benedictine  Abbey,  which 
was  founded  in  666.  Here  Henry  VI.  was  buried 
before  his  final  interment  at  Windsor.  Here  the  poet 
Cowley  lived  and  died,  and  close  by,  at  St.  Anne's  Hill, 
was  the  residence  of  Charles  James  Fox.  Here,  too,  at 
Anningsley  Park,  lived  Thomas  Day,  the  eccentric 
author  of  that  once  popular  book  for  children, 
"  Sandford  and  Merton." 

The  first  reference  to  Nonconformity  in  Chertsey 
appears  in  the  licences  granted  under  the  Indulgence 


of  1672,  one  to  Arthur  Squibb  for  his  house,  where  a 
Baptist  fellowship  met,  and  one  to  William  Burnett  at 
the  house  of  William  Longhurst,  Anabaptist.  But 
nothing  further  is  known,  either  of  the  meetings  or  the 
men.  A  local  account  of  the  Chertsey  church  states 
that  a  clergyman  ejected  from  Walton-on-Thames 
came  to  Chertsey,  and  in  all  probability  to  him  belongs 
the  honour  of  having  formed  the  Congregational  Church 
of  this  town. 

The  minister  ejected  from  Walton  was  David  Ander- 
son. Calamy  makes  no  mention  of  his  going  to 
Chertsey,  but  says  that  being  apprehensive  of  a  return 
of  Popery,  soon  after  his  ejectment  he  went  with  his 
family  to  Zeeland,  and  settled  at  Middleburgh. 

Brayley,  in  his  History  of  Surrey,  says  a  Presbyterian 
Chapel  was  founded  at  Chertsey  somewhere  about 
1668,  by  Mr.  Edward  Chapman,  draper,  but  the  location 
is  not  specified. 

However,  it  seems  pretty  certain  that  a  number  of 
Christians  met  for  worship  in  private  houses,  one 
authority  says  "  for  forty  years,  being  like  the  chosen 
people  of  old."  If,  as  is  claimed,  the  chapel  was  built 
in  1704,  this  would  bring  us  back  virtually  to  the 
ejectment.  Another  date  given  for  the  erection  of  the 
old  chapel  is  1710.  Forty  years  back  from  this  would 
bring  us  to  1670,  the  date  assigned  in  the  Year  Book. 

The  first  known  pastor  was  Jacob  Kuffeler,  who 
lived  in  one  of  the  red  houses  on  the  north  side  of 
Windsor  Street,  a  house  afterwards  inhabited  by  Sir 
William  Perkins,  founder  of  the  town  schools.  Kuffeler 
retained  the  charge  for  thirty  years,  and  died  Septem- 
ber 1,  1723.  He  is  spoken  of  as  a  man  of  great  wisdom 
and  untiring  devotedness.  Two  years  after  Mr.  Kuffe- 
ler's  death  the  chapel  was  put  in  trust,  and  conveyed 


to  John  Benson,  Richard  Chapman,  Thomas  Wade, 
John  Merlott,  William  Cornish,  and  William  Atwick. 

Much  anxiety  was  felt  that  a  suitable  man  should  be 
found  to  succeed  Mr.  Kuffeler.  Daniel  Mayo  in  his 
funeral  sermon  makes  especial  reference  to  this  solici- 
tude and  the  discouragements  that  attended  it.  How- 
ever, an  efficient  successor  was  found  in  John  Benson, 
the  grandson  of  the  minister  of  that  name  ejected  from 
Little  Leighs,  in  Essex,  and  son  of  a  dissenting  minister 
at  Sandwich,  Kent.  Mr.  Benson  ministered  to  the 
church  for  eighteen  years,  and  during  his  pastorate  the 
chapel  was  enlarged  and  the  present  burial  ground  put 
in  trust. 

Henry  Knight  was  the  next  minister.  He  is  known 
as  the  author  of  a  book,  published  in  1747,  on  "  The 
Being  and  Attributes  of  God."  He  remained  ten 
years.  He  was  followed  at  an  uncertain  date  by  John 
Stantial,  who  continued  pastor  for  seventeen  years. 
His  health  failed,  and  he  passed  to  his  rest  January  20, 
1780.  A  Mr.  Rees  is  also  found  here  in  1777;  either 
he  was  co-pastor  with  Mr.  Stantial,  which  was  very 
common  in  those  days,  or  Mr.  Stantial  had  by  that 
date  resigned. 

In  1783  Rev.  Richard  Lane  became  acting  pastor, 
but  was  not  ordained  till  1789.  The  reason  for  this 
delay  seems  to  have  been  caution  on  the  part  of  the 
church,  for  by  the  old  Trust  Deed  the  pastor  once 
elected  was  elected  for  life.  (This  does  not  apply  to 
the  present  Deed.)  At  the  Ordination  Service,  Rev. 
John  Clayton,  of  the  King's  Weigh  House  Chapel, 
delivered  the  charge  to  the  pastor,  and  Rev.  John 
Townsend,  of  Rotherhithe,  preached  to  the  people. 

During  the  ministry  of  Mr.  Lane  the  Parish  Church 
was  rebuilt.     The  old  building  had  been  condemned  as 


unsafe,  so  it  was  pulled  down,  excepting  the  tower  and 
chancel.  An  interesting  and  unique  event  then  took 
place  which  speaks  well  for  the  religious  harmony  of 
those  days,  at  any  rate  in  Chertsey.  For  three  years, 
1804 — 6,  the  congregation  of  the  Parish  Church  met  in 
the  old  chapel  on  Sunday  mornings  and  afternoons, 
and  the  dissenters  used  it  in  the  evenings.  The 
Chertsey  records  still  contain  a  resolution  of  thanks, 
passed  at  the  dinner  to  celebrate  the  opening  of  the 
new  church,  to  Mr.  Lane  and  the  deacons  for  the  use 
of  the  chapel  during  three  years.  Some  years  later  the 
fact  came  to  the  knowledge  of  a  gentleman  at  Hampton 
Court  Palace,  and  in  appreciation  he  generously  gave 
the  chapel  an  organ.  It  had  the  royal  arms  on  it,  and 
was  said  to  be  the  organ  Queen  Caroline  played  when 
living  at  the  palace.  But  the  royal  arms  is  now  all  that 
remains  of  it. 

Mr.  Lane  resigned  in  1818.  A  paragraph  in  the 
"  Life  of  Thomas  Wilson"  tells  us  that  this  generous 
supporter  of  churches  made  an  application  to  the 
trustees  of  an  old  meeting  house  at  Chertsey,  that  the 
endowment  should  be  secured  for  the  remainder  of  his 
life  to  an  aged  minister  whose  preaching  had  ceased  to 
be  efficient,  on  condition  that  he  resigned  his  charge. 

Rev.  Thomas  Stratten  was  the  next  minister.  He 
seems  to  have  preached  here  occasionally  for  several 
years  whilst  a  student  at  Hoxton,  and  then  regularly 
for  two  years,  1818 — 20,  but  would  not  accept  the  per- 
manent pastorate,  to  the  great  sorrow  of  the  people. 
His  short  ministry  at  Chertsey  was  greatly  blessed.  He 
accepted  a  call  to  Sunderland,  and  afterwards  settled 
at  Hull,  where  the  great  work  of  his  life  was  done.  In 
1847  he  was  invited  to  become  Theological  Tutor  at 
Hackney  College,  but  declined.     He  died  in  1854. 


Thomas  Schofield  succeeded  him.  The  local  record 
says  he  came  in  1823  and  was  ordained  in  1835.  This 
long  interval  of  twelve  years  before  his  ordination  may 
probably  be  explained  as  in  the  case  of  Mr.  Lane.  Mr. 
Schofield's  career  was  a  peculiar  one.  He  was  formerly 
a  member  of  John  Clayton's  church  in  Camomile 
Street,  through  whose  influence  he  entered  Homerton 
College,  then  under  the  guidance  of  Dr.  J.  Pye-Smith. 
After  a  few  months  at  college  young  Schofield  had  the 
temerity  to  accuse  Dr.  Pye-Smith  of  heterodoxy,  with 
the  result  that  he  left  college.  He  then  tried  in  vain  to 
enter  the  Hoxton  Academy,  and  finished  his  studies 
under  the  private  tuition  of  Rev.  W.  Hordle  and  Mr. 
Turnbull.  But  an  early  marriage  frustrated  his  hopes 
of  a  regular  pastorate,  whereupon  he  went  to  London 
and  opened  an  academy  for  young  men.  This  he 
carried  on  successfully  for  some  years,  until,  in  1823, 
Mr.  Thomas  Wilson  introduced  him  to  Chertsey. 

During  his  pastorate,  in  1833,  the  chapel  was 
repaired  and  enlarged.  But  if  we  may  believe  his 
biographer  in  the  Year  Book  "  It  cannot  be  said  that 
his  ministry  was  a  success  ;  owing  to  a  very  sensitive 
and  impetuous  nature  he  often  came  into  unpleasant 
collision  with  his  people,  and  breaches  were  made 
which  were  never  healed."  In  1865,  after  42  years' 
service,  he  retired  on  the  small  endowment  belonging 
to  the  church  together  with  an  annuity  that  was 
bought  for  him.  He  died  January  1,  1870,  at  the  age 
of  77. 

On  Mr.  Schofield's  retirement,  Rev.  W.  F.  Revell, 
of  South  Petherton,  Somerset  (a  Hackney  student)  was 
called  to  the  pastorate,  which  he  held  till  1874. 

Things  were  much  depressed  when,  in  1874,  Rev. 
Wm.  Cleare  was  asked  to  supply  the  pulpit  for  a  year. 


Mr.  Cleare  was  born  in  London  on  April  n,  1851. 
Part  of  his  youth  was  spent  in  India,  where  the  claims 
of  the  ministry  first  strongly  laid  hold  on  him.  He 
entered  Cheshunt  College,  but  through  ill  health  was 
compelled  to  leave  before  the  completion  of  his  course. 
Chertsey  was  his  first  charge  ;  the  congregation  was 
small,  the  Sunday  school  had  been  discontinued,  and 
the  general  state  of  things  was  unsatisfactory.  But  in 
a  few  weeks  the  attendance  improved,  the  Sunday 
school  was  re-established,  and  the  church  was  re- 
organised. At  the  end  of  twelve  months  Mr.  Cleare 
accepted  a  call  to  the  permanent  pastorate,  and  at  once 
undertook  the  task  of  erecting  a  new  church  building. 
The  old  chapel,  situated  at  the  end  of  a  narrow  blind 
lane,  was  unsightly,  incommodious,  and  incapable  of 
improvement.  A  freehold  site  in  the  main  street  was 
secured  for  £"450,  and  on  September  7,  1876,  in  the 
midst  of  a  heavy  storm  of  rain  and  thunder,  the 
memorial  stone  was  laid  by  Mr.  W.  G.  Soper,  Chairman 
of  the  Surrey  Union.  The  church  was  opened  on 
Tuesday,  April  10,  1877,  the  preachers  being  in  the 
morning  Rev.  G.  S.  Barrett,  of  Norwich,  and  in  the 
evening  Rev.  C.  Newman  Hall. 

About  a  year  later  Mr.  Cleare  removed  to  East 
Dereham,  Norfolk,  closing  his  ministry  at  Chertsey  on 
July  14,  1878.  He  was  not  spared  long  to  his  new 
pastorate.  Two  unusually  severe  winters  broke  down 
his  health  ;  and  though  he  left  Dereham  for  a  more 
genial  climate  he  gradually  declined  and  passed  peace- 
fully away  on  May  30,  1880. 

After  Mr.  Cleare's  removal  from  Chertsey  the 
church,  with  a  small  membership  and  a  heavy  debt, 
decided  for  the  present  to  obtain  supplies  from  New 
College.     In  July,  1879,  an  effort  was  made  to  reduce 

Congregational  Church,  Chertsey,  1877. 


the  debt  ;  and  with  generous  aid  from  friends  outside  it 
was  brought  down  to  £1,000.  Mr.  W.  Marten  Smith, 
of  Clapham,  Treasurer  of  the  Surrey  Union,  then 
offered  £25  a  year  towards  the  interest  on  the  remain- 
ing debt  for  two  years  after  the  settlement  of  the  new 
pastor.  Thus  encouraged,  the  church  in  December, 
1879,  invited  Mr.  I.  J.  Chalkley,  a  student  of  Hackney 
College.  His  pastorate  continued  till  May,  1885,  when, 
to  the  great  sorrow  of  the  people,  serious  illness  com- 
pelled his  resignation.  He  died  on  June  24  of  the 
same  year,  and  was  buried  in  the  old  chapel  graveyard. 

On  the  first  Sunday  of  1886  Mr.  J.  de  B.  Brewin,  a 
student  of  Rotherham  College,  occupied  the  pulpit, 
and  was  unanimously  invited  to  the  pastorate.  Mr. 
Brewin  spent  fifteen  happy  and  useful  years  in  Chertsey  ; 
the  church  increased,  the  debt  was  entirely  cleared,  a 
new  organ  was  installed  and  a  larger  schoolroom  built ; 
the  memorial  stone  being  laid  by  Mr.  Bartholomew,  the 
senior  deacon.  Mr.  Bartholomew  had  come  to  Chertsey 
in  1832.  Two  years  later  he  opened  the  first  Sunday 
school  in  the  town.  In  1836  he  removed  to  Walton, 
where  he  worked  with  Rev.  A.  E.  Lord  for  several 
years.  In  1849  he  returned  to  Chertsey,  but  for  some 
time  retained  his  connection  with  the  Hersham  church. 
He  held  various  offices  in  the  two  churches  for  upwards 
of  50  years,  and  was  largely  instrumental  (with  Mr. 
Cleare)  in  erecting  the  new  church  building.  He  died 
July  14,  1896. 

In  December,  1901,  Mr.  Brewin  was  taken  suddenly 
ill ;  and  the  following  May,  on  the  advice  of  his  medical 
attendant,  he  resigned  the  pastorate.  He  happily 
recovered,  and  was  able  three  years  later  to  undertake 
the  charge  of  a  new  church  at  Hampton  Hill, 


Soon  after  Mr.  Brewin's  resignation,  in  August,  1902, 
Rev.  Martin  C.  Taylor,  of  Ringwood  (a  student  of 
Western  College),  accepted  the  call  of  the  church,  and 
still  ministers  with  many  evidences  of  usefulness. 

It  may  be  interesting  to  mention  that  in  one  of  the 
windows  of  the  old  chapel  there  is  a  device  in  stained 
glass,  believed  to  be  a  relic  of  the  old  Chertsey  Abbey, 
suppressed  in  1538.  It  is  said  to  bear  the  arms  of 
Henry  VIII.  and  Jane  Seymour. 



In  the  year  1688  a  number  of  Nonconformists  formed 
a  congregation,  and  met  for  worship  in  a  private  house 
in  this  village.  One  of  the  principal  leaders  was  Joshua 
Gearing,  the  maternal  grandfather  of  Calamy  the 
historian,  who  lived  in  a  house  facing  the  village  green. 
Gearing  seems  to  have  been  an  uncompromising 
dissenter.  In  167 1  he  was  "  elected  churchwarden  ;  he 
declined  to  serve,  and  paid  £3  towards  the  repairs  of 
the  church,  and  was  discharged  from  serving  the  office 
till  his  turn  comes  again." 

Tradition  says  that  Daniel  Defoe  was  the  prime 
mover  in  the  formation  of  this  cause,  and  the  gates  of 
an  old  house  near  Tooting  Junction  long  bore  the 
legend  "  Daniel  Defoe  lived  here."  Lee,  in  his  "  Life 
of  Defoe,"  says :  "  When  the  Revolution  took  place, 
probably  some  little  time  before,  Defoe  was  a  resident 
at  Tooting  in  Surrey,  where  he  was  the  first  person  who 
attempted  to  form  the  dissenters  of  the  neighbourhood 


into  a  regular  congregation."  But  it  is  disputed 
whether  Defoe  ever  resided  in  Tooting.  Morden,  in 
his  "History  of  Tooting  Graveny,"  says,  "a  careful 
search  through  all  the  parish  books  from  the  date  of  his 
birth,  in  1661,  to  that  of  his  death  in  1731,  has  failed 
to  bring  to  light  any  record  of  his  having  resided  in  the 
parish."  He  has  also  ascertained  that  the  house  in 
which  Defoe  is  said  to  have  lived  in  1688,  was  not  built 
till  nearly  a  century  later.  He  thinks  that  the  illustrious 
Daniel  might  have  been  at  some  time  a  visitor  to 
Gearing,  and  that  in  this  way  the  connection  of  that 
famous  man  with  Tooting  came  about. 

Still,  it  must  be  admitted  that  this  evidence  is 
entirely  negative,  and  that  it  is  hardly  likely  a  tradition 
would  have  obtained  such  a  firm  hold  upon  a  locality 
unless  there  were  in  the  first  instance  some  basis  for  it. 

The  first  minister  of  this  church  was  Dr.  Joshua 
Oldfield,  second  son  of  Rev.  John  Oldfield  who  was 
ejected  from  Carsington  in  Derbyshire.  Joshua  was 
born  in  1656.  There  were  four  brothers,  the  eldest 
conformed,  the  other  three  went  out.  He  was  educated 
at  Christ's  College,  Cambridge,  and  was  afterwards 
tutor  to  a  son  of  the  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Commons, 
who  offered  him  a  living  of  £200  a  year,  but  he  would 
not  conform.  His  first  charge  was  a  co-pastorate  at 
Leather  Lane.  He  came  to  Tooting  in  1686,  and 
remained  here  till  1691.  He  subsequently  held  charges 
at  Oxford,  Coventry,  and  South vvark,  and  died  November 
8,  1729,  at  the  age  of  73.  He  published  several  works, 
taught  in  various  schools,  held  one  or  two  private 
chaplaincies,  was  a  skilled  mathematician,  and  received 
his  degree  of  D.D.  from  Edinburgh  in  1709. 

Isaac  Maudit  was  the  next  pastor.     He  also  was  the 
son   of  an  eiected  minister  at  Anstey,  in  Devonshire. 



In  his  early  years  he  suffered  much  from  persecution, 
shifting  from  place  to  place.  He  succeeded  Dr.  Old- 
field  in  1692,  and  held  the  pastorate  till  1696,  when  he 
left  for  Bermondsey.  During  his  stay  at  Tooting  he 
published  a  discourse  on  the  Trinity,  which  attained 
some  renown.  He  is  spoken  of  as  "  never  dry  nor 
pumping,  but  always  full  and  glowing  ....  a  solid 
divine  and  a  good  disputant."  At  Bermondsey  he  had 
a  very  successful  ministry  and  a  full  congregation  to  the 
time  of  his  death,  which  occurred  in  1717. 

In  1696,  Francis  Freeman  accepted  the  pastorate, 
and  continued  here  till  his  death,  November  17,  1726. 

In  this  year,  by  the  will  of  Elizabeth  Wilmot,  dated 
June  28,  1726,  an  annual  sum  of  £10,  charged  upon 
certain  property  in  the  parish,  was  left  upon  trust  for 
such  Protestant  dissenting  minister,  as  for  the  time 
being  should  officiate  at  or  in  the  congregation  of 
Presbyterian  or  Independent  dissenters,  at  or  in 
Tooting,  for  his  use  and  benefit.  In  case  there  should 
be  no  such  congregation,  the  said  charge  to  cease. 

Mr.  Freeman  was  succeeded  by  Dr.  Henry  Miles, 
F.R.S.,  a  man  of  great  literary  celebrity.  He  was  born 
at  Stroud  in  Gloucestershire  on  June  2,  1698.  His 
parents  were  members  of  the  Established  Church,  but 
a  perusal  of  some  works  of  the  great  Puritans,  influenced 
him  towards  dissent.  His  early  education  was  limited, 
but  on  deciding  to  enter  the  ministry  he  became  a  very 
diligent  student.  He  accepted  the  pastorate  in  1726, 
but  although  repeatedly  urged  he  was  not  ordained  till 
1731.  For  some  years  of  his  ministry  at  Tooting  he 
assisted  Dr.  Chandler  at  the  English  Presbyterian 
Church,  Old  Jewry.  He  was  a  skilled  linguist,  with  a 
taste  for  natural  history,  botany  and  experimental 
philosophy,   which   procured  him   a   Fellowship  of  the 


Royal  Society  in  1743.  He  received  his  degree  the 
following  year  from  the  University  of  Aberdeen.  Many 
efforts  were  made  to  induce  him  to  remove  to  a  larger 
congregation,  but  he  preferred  the  retirement  of 
Tooting.  During  the  closing  years  of  his  ministry,  he 
was  assisted  by  the  Rev.  John  Beesley,  until  his  death, 
February  19,  1763,  at  the  age  of  65. 

During  this  ministry  another  bequest  was  made  to 
the  church  by  Benjamin  Bond.  He  gave  £300  South 
Sea  Stock,  to  pay  the  interest  to  the  minister,  as  long  as 
the  meeting  house  was  used  as  a  place  for  the  worship 
of  God  by  Protestant  dissenters. 

After  the  death  of  Dr.  Miles  the  church  was  supplied 
for  some  months  by  occasional  preachers,  until  the 
beginning  of  1764.  Rev.  W.  Kingsbury  then  took  charge 
of  the  pulpit  for  a  year,  excepting  for  the  second  Sunday 
in  each  month,  when  Mr.  Thawyer  officiated  and 
administered  the  Lord's  Supper.  At  the  close  of  this 
period  Mr.  Kingsbury  removed  to  Southampton.  He 
was  succeeded  by  Rev.  Samuel  Wilton,  D.D.  Mr. 
Wilton  was  born  in  1744.  His  father  was  a  well-known 
hosier  in  Newgate  Street.  He  was  educated  at  Christ 
Church  Hospital  Grammar  School,  under  the  Rev.  Mr. 
Townley.  He  began  his  ministry  at  Tooting  by 
preaching  two  Sabbaths  in  each  month,  providing 
supplies  for  the  remainder. 

Under  the  new  oversight,  the  church  so  increased 
that  the  little  timber  meeting  house  was  found  too 
small,  and  Mrs.  Emma  Miles,  the  widow  of  the  former 
minister,  a  lady  of  considerable  fortune,  erected  a  sub- 
stantial brick  building,  which  she  conveyed  to  the 
congregation.  At  the  same  time  she  put  in  trust  £500, 
the  interest  of  which  was  to  be  applied  for  the  main- 
tenance of  the  minister. 

P  2 


The  new  chapel  was  opened  April  20,  1766,  and  in 
the  following  June,  Dr.  Wilton  was  ordained. 

He  was  a  hard-working  pastor  and  a  friend  of  the 
poor,  and  his  ministry  was  highly  successful. 

In  1776,  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  the  Weigh 
House  Chapel,  but  overwork  undermined  his  strength 
and  he  died  April  3,  two  years  later,  aged  34. 

Rev.  James  Bowden  succeeded.  He  was  a  native  of 
Warminster,  where  he  was  born  December  3,  1745. 
His  parents  and  ancestors  were  persons  of  distinguished 
piety.  He  joined  the  church  at  Warminster,  when 
fifteen  years  of  age.  Subsequently  he  studied  at 
Bridport  under  Rev.  Samuel  Rooker.  His  first  charge 
was  at  Fareham,  in  Hants,  where  he  stayed  eight  years ; 
but  the  place  was  unsuited  to  the  condition  of  his 
health,  so  he  removed  from  Fareham. 

A  sermon  which  he  had  preached  at  Tooting  some- 
time before,  as  a  casual  supply,  had  given  great  satisfac- 
tion, and  on  Dr.  Wilton's  removal  he  was  invited  to  the 
pastorate.  On  August  25,  1776,  he  publicly  accepted 
the  call. 

Mr.  Bowden  is  deserving  of  especial  mention  as  the 
originator  of  the  Surrey  Mission.  The  London  Missionary 
Society  had  just  been  established,  and  whilst  warmly 
espousing  the  cause  of  the  heathen  abroad,  Mr.  Bowden 
felt  no  less  keenly  the  deplorable  state  of  the  heathen 
in  our  villages  at  home.  He  took  the  work  up  with 
great  zeal,  and  formed  a  Society,  composed  of  ministers 
and  Christians  of  all  denominations,  to  propagate 
the  gospel  in  the  villages  of  this  county.  It  was 
founded  at  Tooting  in  1797,  and  called  "  The  Surrey 
Mission  Society."  Ministers  gave  their  services  for 
places  within  reach,  and  two  evangelists  were  engaged 
for  the  more  distant  localities. 


About  the  year  1810,  after  thirty-five  years'  ministry, 
Mr.  Bowden  was  sorely  tried  by  internal  dissension  in 
the  church.  Finding  that  a  church  meeting  was 
called  by  the  deacons,  unknown  to  him,  he  resigned, 
and  preached  his  last  sermon  on  February  23,  18 12. 
During  the  next  two  months  he  preached  in  various 
parts  of  the  country,  and  on  April  5  was  preaching  at 
Hammersmith.  Towards  the  end  of  his  sermon,  he 
was  seized  with  paralysis  and  supported  out  of  the 
pulpit.  He  died  the  next  morning.  By  a  strange 
coincidence  he  had  intended  in  the  afternoon  to  preach 
from  the  text,  Gen.  xxv.  32,  "  Behold  I  am  at  the 
point  to  die." 

In  February,  1813,  Rev.  J.  Tozer  was  appointed  to 
the  vacant  pulpit,  and  held  the  pastorate  a  few  years. 
He  died  in  1822. 

Rev.  William  W.  Henry  was  the  next  minister.  He 
was  born  at  Kirkintilloch,  near  Glasgow,  April  22,  1784. 
His  father  was  a  deacon  of  the  Independent  Church  in 
that  town.  He  was  educated  at  Glasgow  and  sub- 
sequently held  pastorates  at  Stirling  and  Leith.  In 
1822  he  accepted  the  pastorate  of  the  Tooting  Church, 
and  remained  with  them  till  his  death,  March  8,  1839. 
For  many  years  he  was  corresponding  secretary  to  the 
Home  Missionary  Society.  In  1830,  he  was  attacked 
with  a  severe  illness  from  which  he  really  never 
recovered.  He  is  buried  in  the  burial  ground  behind 
the  chapel. 

J.  Taylor  was  the  next  pastor.  He  accepted  the 
charge  in  1840,  and  resigned  in  1842. 

Thomas  Waraker  was  ordained  to  the  pastoral 
charge  of  the  church,  on  Thursday,  May  19,  1842.  He 
held  the  pastorate  till  1852,  and  was  succeeded  by  Rev. 
F.  Fox  Thomas,  of  Whitchurch,  Hants.     Mr.  Thomas 


was  born  at  Margate,  October  23,  1824.  He  studied 
at  Narberth,  Pembrokeshire,  and  went  from  there  to 
one  of  the  London  colleges. 

Whitchurch  was  his  first  charge,  and  he  remained 
there  five  years.  He  commenced  his  ministry  at  Toot- 
ing on  the  first  Sabbath  of  April,  1852.  After  nine 
years  of  strenuous  work  he  removed  to  Abbey  Road, 
Torquay,  and  subsequently  laboured  at  Harrogate.  On 
leaving  Harrogate  he  retired  from  pastoral  work,  and 
died  at  Reigate  on  October  29,  1901. 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  Wm.  Anderson,  D.D. 
He  came  from  a  good  old  Presbyterian  family,  at 
Skene,  in  Aberdeenshire.  After  a  distinguished  course 
at  the  Universities  of  Aberdeen  and  Glasgow,  he 
engaged  for  a  while  in  literary  work.  In  1852  he  was 
ordained  minister  at  Sorn.  He  commenced  his  labours 
at  Tooting  on  the  second  Sunday  in  August,  1861. 
Under  his  ministry  the  church  for  some  time  made 
steady  progress. 

In  1874  a  committee  was  formed  for  the  purpose  of 
erecting  a  "  Defoe  Memorial  Manse."  Some  funds  for 
this  purpose  had  been  collected  by  Rev.  Fox  Thomas, 
and  placed  in  the  hands  of  trustees.  The  money  thus 
collected  was  paid  into  Lambeth  County  Court,  under 
legal  advice,  and  in  1875  Dr.  Anderson  and  five  others 
presented  a  petition  to  have  the  money  paid  over  to 
them.  The  remainder  of  the  money  was  collected  by 
Dr.  Anderson,  and  the  manse  was  erected  on  a  freehold 
site,  in  an  excellent  position.  The  rector  of  the  parish, 
Rev.  John  Congreve,  M.A.,  and  Dean  Stanley,  of 
Westminster  Abbey,  co-operated  in  this  movement. 

Soon  after  this,  an  attempt  was  made  by  Dr.  Ander 
son    and    some    members   of  the   church  to    hand  the 
property  over  to  the  Presbyterian  body.     At  a  church 


meeting  held  December  10,  1879,  attended  by  fourteen 
members  (out  of  a  total  of  seventy-five)  it  was  resolved 
that,  "believing  the  doctrine  and  polity  of  the  Presby- 
terian Church  of  England  are  in  harmony  with  the 
word  of  God,  and  knowing  that  real  and  personal  pro- 
perty connected  with  the  church  at  Tooting  are  of 
Presbyterian  origin,  the  members  apply  to  the  London 
Presbytery  for  admission  to  the  fellowship  of  the 
Presbyterian  Church  of  England."  Ten  voted  for  this 
resolution,  three  against,  one  did  not  vote. 

The  application  of  Dr.  Anderson  was  at  first  declined 
by  the  Presbytery,  but,  notwithstanding  this  decision, 
he  had  the  name  on  the  chapel  notice  board  altered  to 
"Defoe  Presbyterian  Church,"  and  otherwise  announced 
it  as  such. 

A  second  application  was  successful,  and  on  April  28, 
1 881,  by  a  very  large  majority,  the  Presbytery  of 
London  was  instructed  to  receive  the  Tooting  congre- 

Meanwhile  the  trustees  of  the  Endowment  Fund  had 
refused  to  pay  Dr.  Anderson  any  further  portion  of  the 
income  arising  from  endowments,  and  the  matter  had 
been  reported  to  the  London  Congregational  Union, 
who,  "after  making  unsuccessful  representations  to  the 
London  Presbytery,  prepared  a  case  for  counsel.  The 
opinion  of  counsel  was  generally  in  favour  of  the 
London  Union.  Negotiations  between  the  two  bodies 
dragged  on  for  seven  years,  the  London  Congregational 
Union  using  every  possible  means  to  obtain  an  amicable 
settlement.  At  length  it  was  found  that  no  other 
course  was  possible  than  to  take  the  case  into  court. 
This  was  rendered  the  more  necessary  by  the  fact  that 
a  number  of  churches,  which  had  once  been  Congre- 
gational, especially  in  the  North  of  England,  had  been 


at  various  times  carried  over  to  the  Presbyterian  body, 
and  that  a  much  larger  number  connected  with  the 
Independents  were  in  a  similar  position  to  Tooting. 
Lists  of  these  had  appeared  in  Presbyterian  publica- 
tions, which  asserted  their  claims  to  them.  The 
chapel  at  Tooting  was  therefore  typical,  and  the 
decision  of  the  court  would  affect  many  others.  The 
case  was  opened  in  the  Chancery  Division  of  the  High 
Court  of  Justice,  before  Mr.  Justice  Kekewich,  on 
February  23,  1888,  and  lasted  five  days.  Mr.  Cozens- 
Hardy,  Q.C.  (now  Lord  Justice),  Mr.  Aspland,  Q.C., 
and  Mr.  Lemon,  appeared  for  the  London  Congrega- 
tional Union,  and  Mr.  Gainsford  Bruce,  Q.C,  and  Mr. 
Pownall,  for  the  defendants.  Amongst  the  witnesses 
examined  were  Dr.  Hannay,  Dr.  Donald  Fraser,  Dr. 
Sadler,  and  Dr.  Anderson.  The  judgment  of  the  court 
was  unequivocal  and  decisive.  The  court  declared 
"  That  it  was  not  competent  to  the  meeting  of  Feb- 
ruary 14,  1881,  to  subject  the  trust  property  to  the 
control  of  the  body  styled  the  Presbyterian  Church  of 
England,  but  that  the  same  ought  to  be  held,  used,  and 
enjoyed  by  the  Protestant  Dissenters  of  the  Presbyterian 
or  Independent  denomination  worshipping  therein,  as 
if  no  such  meeting  had  been  held,  and  no  resolution 
for  an  admission  to  the  fellowship  of  the  Presbyterian 
Church  of  England  had  then  or  at  any  time  been 

Accordingly,  Dr.  Anderson  gave  up  the  church  and 
manse  and  removed  the  portion  of  the  congregation 
who  sympathised  with  him  to  the  Vestry  Hall,  where 
he  continued  until  his  death  in  1895.  Meanwhile  the 
original  church  continued  in  the  old  chapel,  under  the 
oversight  of  the  Rev.  Andrew  Mearns,  Secretary  of  the 
London  Congregational  Union.     In  April,   1893,  after 


an  interval  of  six  years,  Rev.  Bevill  Allen  was  called  to 
the  pastorate.  Mr.  Allen  received  his  ministerial  train- 
ing at  Hackney  College,  and  after  an  assistant  pastorate 
at  Mile  End,  New  Town,  had  held  charges  at  Kilburn, 
Tonbridge  Chapel  (King's  Cross),  and  York  Road, 

Of  late  years  the  social  condition  of  Tooting  has 
greatly  changed.  The  village  of  some  5,000  inhabi- 
tants has  grown  to  a  densely-populated  district  of 
30,000,  and  a  new  church  became  absolutely  necessary. 
An  eligible  freehold  site  in  the  Mitcham  Road  was 
obtained  for  £825,  and  in  1902  the  Primitive  Methodists 
offered  to  purchase  the  old  chapel.  The  offer  was 
accepted,  and  the  congregation  removed  temporarily  to 
Broadwater  Schools,  generously  built  for  and  lent  to 
them  by  a  benevolent  lady  member  of  the  Established 
Church,  who  resides  in  the  neighbourhood. 

The  new  church,  which  is  octagonal  in  form  and 
seats  800  persons,  was  built  at  a  cost  of  £6,000.  It 
was  opened  by  Rev.  C.  Sylvester  Home  on  Wednesday, 
July  1 1,  1906. 


(1782— 1876) 

Though  not,  strictly  speaking,  a  Congregational 
Church,  Surrey  Chapel  has  been  too  closely  associated 
with  the  inception  of  Congregational  Churches  in  the 
county  to  be  passed  without  notice.     Only  a  sketch  is 


possible  within  our  limits  ;  an  adequate  history  would 
require  a  volume. 

Rowland  Hill,  born  at  Hawkstone,  Salop,  on  August 
23,  1745,  was  a  younger  son  of  a  county  family  which 
has  been  traced  back  to  the  beginning  of  the  fourteenth 
century.  His  eldest  brother,  Sir  Richard  Hill,  Bart., 
represented  his  native  county  in  six  successive  Parlia- 
ments, and  was  at  all  times  a  zealous  advocate  of  evan- 
gelical religion  and  humanity.  Lord  Hill,  honourably 
distinguished  in  the  Peninsular  war  and  at  Waterloo, 
was  one  of  his  many  nephews.  While  still  a  school- 
boy at  Eton  young  Rowland  experienced  a  spiritual 
awakening,  and  in  1766,  while  an  undergraduate  at 
Cambridge,  he  began  to  preach  in  the  neighbouring 
villages.  For  this  irregularity,  and  his  avowed  resolve 
to  continue  the  same,  he  was  refused  "  orders"  by  no 
fewer  than  six  bishops.  However,  after  leaving  the 
university,  he  itinerated  extensively,  especially  in  the 
West  of  England,  preaching  in  meeting  houses  and  in 
the  open  air,  wherever  he  could  gather  a  congregation, 
and  leading  many  into  the  way  of  Life.  Having  gradu- 
ated M.A.,  he  was  granted  "deacon's  orders"  by  the 
bishop  of  Bath  and  Wells  on  June  6,  1773 ;  but  as  he 
persisted  in  preaching  alike  in  church,  tabernacle,  or 
field,  the  Archbishop  of  York  intervened  to  prevent  him 
from  being  admitted  to  "  full  orders."  A  few  years 
later  he  determined  to  erect,  "  in  one  of  the  most 
depraved  districts  of  the  metropolis,"  a  chapel  wherein 
the  services  should  be  "  according  to  the  ritual  of  the 
Church  of  England,"  but  of  which  "the  pulpit  should 
be  open  to  pious  ministers  of  all  denominations  and  of 
every  country."  The  site  selected  was  in  Blackfriars 
Road,  half-way  between  the  bridge  and  the  Obelisk ; 
and  there  Mr.  Hill  laid  the  first  stone  of  Surrey  Chapel 

WESTM  INSTER   BRIDGE    ROAD        219 

on  June  24,  1782.  Among  the  contributors  to  the 
building  fund  were  the  Countess  of  Huntingdon  and 
the  eccentric  Lord  George  Gordon.  The  cost  was 
about  £5,000. 

The  chapel  was  opened  for  worship  on  June  8,  1783. 
Mr.  Hill  preached  in  the  morning,  and  a  Mr.  Piercy  in 
the  evening.  During  the  later  service  a  panic  was 
occasioned  by  a  false  alarm  that  the  building  was  falling, 
and  many  persons  were  injured.  The  building  was 
polygonal  in  plan,  approaching  a  circle,  with  gallery 
all  round — whence  its  popular  nicknames  of  "The 
Roundhouse "  and  "  The  Oven."  There  were  desks 
for  reader  and  clerk,  and  behind  the  pulpit  a  very  fine 

Mr.  Hill's  love  to  the  Established  Church  was  not 
diminished  by  the  unworthy  treatment  he  experienced 
from  its  rulers  ;  and  though,  in  his  frequent  absence, 
the  pulpit  of  Surrey  Chapel  was  occupied  by  ministers 
of  various  denominations,  his  chief  delight  was  in 
getting  it  occupied  by  Evangelical  clergymen,  such  as 
Berridge,  T.  Scott,  Venn,  etc.  He  long  cherished  the  —«? 
hope  that  his  successor  might  be  some  episcopally 
ordained  minister,  desirous  of  greater  freedom  than 
could  be  found  in  the  State  church. 

The  management  of  Surrey  Chapel  was  entirely  in 
the  hands  of  the  trustees,  who  were  empowered  to 
depose  Mr.  Hill  from  the  oversight  and  appointment  of 
supplies  if  he  should  not  "preach  agreeably  to  the 
doctrinal  articles  of  the  Church  of  England."  The 
communicants  were  enrolled  as  members  of  a  "  society  " 
which  met  for  devotion  and  conference  on  Monday, 
evenings.  Great  attention  was  paid  to  the  musical 
department  of  the  service,  which  was  directed  by  the^ 
accomplished   organist,    Mr.    B.   Jacobs.      On    special 


occasions  hymn-anthems,  such  as  "  Denmark,"  "Trum- 
pet," "  Fotheringay,"  etc.,  were  sung  ;  but  voluntaries 
were  strictly  excluded.  Mr.  Hill  compiled  a  hymn  book 
containing  several  striking  original  hymns,  of  which  a 
few  are  still  in  use.  One  such  hymn,  sung  by  a  con- 
gregation of  volunteers  on  December  4,  1803,  to  the 
tune  of  "  Rule,  Britannia,"  was  long  remembered. 

Surrey  Chapel  soon  became  a  perfect  hive  of  Chris- 
tian and  philanthropic  activities.  One  of  the  earliest 
of  these,  begun  in  1784,  was  the  Benevolent  Society. 
The  Sunday  school  was  the  first  in  London,  and  the 
society  managed  no  less  than  thirteen  schools,  con- 
taining above  3,000  children.  There  was  also  a  Dorcas 
Society,  a  School  of  Industry  for  twenty-four  poor  girls, 
and  almshouses  for  the  same  number  of  poor  women. 
The  congregation,  besides  meeting  its  own  expenses, 
contributed  about  £2,000  a  year  to  various  religious 
and  philanthropic  objects.  The  foundation  of  the 
London  Missionary  Society  excited  Mr.  Hill's  warmest 
enthusiasm.  At  its  •first  general  meeting  on  September 
25,  1795,  he  preached  to  a  congregation  estimated  at 
3,000  persons ;  and  thenceforward,  till  it  ceased  to  be 
used  for  worship,  Surrey  Chapel  was  the  usual  place 
for  the  annual  sermons  of  the  society. 

In  1816  an  attempt  was  made  to  levy  rates  upon  the 
chapel,  which  Mr.  Hill  successfully  resisted.  This  was 
a  leading  case,  and  his  pamphlets  on  the  subject  have 
some  historic  interest. 

Rowland  Hill,  like  his  elder  contemporary,  John 
Wesley,  would  never  acknowledge  himself  a  Dissenter. 
More  liberal  than  Wesley  in  his  political  views,  he 
clung  to  the  last  to  a  vain  hope  that,  soon  or  late,  the 
Established  Church  would  recognise  the  ministrations 
of  Evangelical  Nonconformists.     He  laboured,  amidst 


increasing  infirmities,  to  the  venerable  age  of  nearly 
eighty-eight,  preached  his  last  sermon  on  March  31, 
1833,  died  eleven  days  later,  and  was  buried  on  April  19, 
beneath  the  pulpit  of  the  Surrey  Chapel. 

Among  the  ministers  who  occasionally  supplied  Mr. 
Hill's  pulpit  was  Rev.  Jas.  Sherman,  of  Reading.  He 
was  of  humble  parentage,  and,  after  a  short  course  of 
training  at  Cheshunt  College,  was  ordained  as  a  minister 
of  Lady  Huntingdon's  Connexion  at  Sion  Chapel, 
Whitechapel,  on  November  26,  1818.  He  preached 
for  about  three  years  in  various  chapels  of  the  con- 
nexion, and  in  1821  accepted  the  pastorate  of  Castle 
Street  chapel,  Reading — a  congregation  of  seceders 
from  the  Established  Church.  There  he  ministered 
acceptably  and  fruitfully  for  nearly  sixteen  years.  It  is 
said  that  Rowland  Hill  had  latterly  thought  of  him  as  a 
possible  successor.  He  was  invited  to  Surrey  Chapel 
early  in  1835,  but  declined.  Eighteen  months  later  the 
invitation  was  renewed,  backed  by  the  signatures  of 
1,200  communicants  and  seatholders.  This  Mr.  Sher- 
man felt  it  his  duty  to  accept,  and  he  entered  on  the 
Surrey  pastorate  on  September  4,  1836. 

Above  three  years  had  passed  since  Mr.  Hill's  death, 
and  the  congregation  had  greatly  diminished.  There 
had  been  no  pastoral  oversight,  no  elders  or  deacons. 
Under  Mr.  Sherman's  ministry  there  was  a  speedy 
revival.  In  1838  no  less  than  251  names  were  added 
to  the  communicants'  roll.  In  1840  the  chapel  was 
renovated  and  new  schoolrooms  built,  at  a  cost  of 
£3,500.  In  1845  a  Temperance  Hall  in  the  Waterloo 
Road  was  purchased  and  adapted  for  mission  purposes, 
by  the  name  of  Hawkstone  Hall,  at  a  cost  of  £2,000. 
By  1848  the  number  of  members  exceeded  1,400,  who 
were   under  the  supervision  of  eight   elders,  and  the 


schools,  ten  altogether,  had  among  them  380  teachers 
and  3,590  scholars.  About  this  time  the  method  of 
celebrating  the  Lord's  Sapper  was  changed  from  the 
order  customary  in  the  Episcopal  Church  to  that  usual 
in  Congregational  Churches.  Mr.  Sherman  in  early 
life  had  been  a  nonconformist  by  accident  rather  than 
by  conviction,  but  as  early  as  1843  he  had  become  a 
convinced  Voluntary,  and  in  1846  appeared  on  the 
platform  of  the  Congregational  Union.  When,  in  1854, 
his  enfeebled  physical  powers  made  it  necessary  that  he 
should  seek  a  less  laborious  pastorate,  he  accepted  a 
call  to  the  newly-organised  Congregational  Church  at 
Blackheath.  His  farewell  sermon  at  Surrey  Chapel 
was  preached  on  May  28,  1854.  He  died  February  13, 
1862,  aged  66. 

His  successor,  Rev.  C.  Newman  Hall,  LL.B.,  D.D., 
was  the  son  of  a  respectable  tradesman  in  Kent.  After 
a  course  of  training  at  Highbury  College  he  became,  in 
1842,  the  first  pastor  of  Albion  Congregational  Church, 
Hull.  From  thence  he  was  invited  to  Surrey  Chapel, 
and  entered  on  the  charge  the  Sunday  following  Mr. 
Sherman's  retirement.  Mr.  Hall  at  once  recognised 
the  necessity  of  a  regular  assistant  minister,  which 
office  was  held  by  five  colleagues  in  succession.  First 
came  Rev.  E.  G.  Cecil,  a  fellow-student  of  the  pastor; 
next  Rev.  Reuen  Thomas,  a  scripture  reader  under  a 
parish  clergyman,  who  dismissed  him  for  reading  the 
liturgy  in  Surrey  Chapel ;  he  was  afterwards  pastor 
of  a  Congregational  Church  at  Mile  End,  and  sub- 
sequently of  one  of  the  wealthiest  Congregational 
Churches  in  America;  then  came  Rev.  J.  M.  Greatly, 
of  whom  we  have  no  further  particulars ;  next  Rev. 
V.  J.  Charlesworth,  from  1864  to  1869,  afterwards  the 
efficient    superintendent    of    Spurgeon's    Orphanage ; 


and  finally,  from  1869  to  1892,  Rev.  H.  Grainger,  who 
still  survives. 

Dr.  Newman  Hall  was  a  decided  Congregationalist. 
In  1862  he  was  put  on  the  rota  of  the  Merchants' 
Lecture,  and  retained  the  post  almost  to  the  end  of  his 
life.  In  1866  he  was  Chairman  of  the  Congregational 

The  lease  of  the  site  on  which  Surrey  Chapel  was 
built  expired  in  1883.  Rowland  Hill  had  left  a  con- 
siderable sum  in  trust  for  the  purchase  or  renewal  of 
the  lease,  but  had  failed  to  ensure  the  validity  of  the 
bequest,  which  was  declared  void  by  the  Statute  of 
Mortmain.  As  early  as  1861  it  was  resolved  to  raise  a 
fund  to  supply  the  loss,  and  after  due  consideration  a 
freehold  site  at  the  junction  of  Kennington  and  West- 
minster Bridge  Roads  was  bought  for  £8,200.  Here 
the  noble  pile  of  buildings  known  as  Christ  Church 
was  erected,  at  a  cost,  exclusive  of  site,  of  nearly 
£54,000.  The  general  plan  was  sketched  out  by  the 
pastor,  and  developed  by  Messrs.  Paull  and  Bickerdike, 
the  architects,  on  lines  of  thirteenth  century  Gothic. 
The  whole  cost  was  met  by  voluntary  subscriptions, 
except  £2,000  obtained  by  the  sale  of  the  old  Hawk- 
stone  Hall.  The  stately  "  Lincoln  Tower  "  was  largely 
paid  for  by  American  sympathisers.  The  foundation 
was  laid  by  S.  Morley,  Esq.,  on  June  26,  1873  ;  that  of 
the  tower  by  the  American  Ambassador,  General 
Schenk,  about  a  year  later;  and  the  dedication  took 
place  on  July  4,  1876.  In  the  course  of  services  which 
followed,  Episcopalians,  Presbyterians,  Methodists, 
Baptists,  and  Congregationalists  took  part.  The  bones 
of  Rowland  Hill,  removed  from  their  original  resting- 
place,  were  re-interred  beneath  the  tower. 

The  trust  deed,    drafted    by    Dr.    Hall,    places   the 


management  in  the  hands  of  the  elders  and  trustees, 
whose  nomination  must  be  confirmed  by  vote  of  the 
church  members.  The  same  rule  applies  to  the  pastor. 
The  schedule  of  doctrine,  which  pastor,  elders,  and 
trustees  must  subscribe,  affirms  all  the  essentials  of 
Evangelical  Christianity  and  repudiates  sacerdotalism 
and  sacramentarianism,  but  neither  dogmatises  about 
'  the  doctrines  of  grace  ' — so  called,  or  the  mode  of 
administering  the  sacraments.  The  old  chapel,  having 
been  used  until  the  expiry  of  the  lease  by  the  Primitive 
Methodists,  has  been  appropriated  for  business 

Dr.  Newman  Hall  retired  on  the  completion  of 
thirty-eight  years  ministry,  on  July  12,  1892.  His 
writings — mostly  evangelistic — are  numerous  ;  the  most 
widely  known  being  a  booklet  entitled,  "  Come  to 
Jesus,"  which  has  circulated  to  the  extent  of  four 
million  copies  in  forty  languages.  He  died  on  February 
18,  1902,  at  the  age  of  eighty-five. 

Before  Dr.  Hall's  actual  retirement  his  successor  had 
been  chosen,  in  the  person  of  Rev.  F.  B.  Meyer,  of 
Regent's  Park  Baptist  Church.  Mr.  Meyer  is  well 
known  as  an  ardent  Evangelist,  a  strenuous  advocate 
of  religious  equality,  and  an  energetic  worker  in  the 
cause  of  temperance  and  social  purity.  He  resigned 
in  the  autumn  of  1907.  The  present  occupancy  of  the 
pulpit  is  provisional,  and  the  future  pastorate  of  the 
church — which  is  still  flourishing — is  undecided. 




The  earliest  mention  of  Nonconformity  in  Stockwell 
is  in  connection  with  Nicholas  Wressel,  M.A.  He  was 
ejected  from  Berwick-on-Tweed,  and  after  suffering 
much  for  his  principles  came  to  Stockwell,  where  he 
kept  a  private  school.  He  was  a  man  of  great  piety, 
and  very  diligent  in  his  ministerial  work.  He  died 
about  the  year  1695.  There  is  no  record  that  he 
gathered  any  church,  but  it  is  hardly  likely  that  such  a 
man  would  be  altogether  silent. 

Waddington  says  that  there  was  a  Presbyterian 
congregation  here,  at  the  beginning  of  the  eighteenth 
century,  and  a  Mr.  Cambden  is  mentioned  as  pastor  in 
1727.  But  nothing  is  known  of  its  subsequent  history. 
The  story  of  the  present  church  begins  with  the  nine- 
teenth century.  It  appears,  indeed,  to  have  been 
organised  in  1796,  and  a  chapel  erected  in  1798, 
which  in  1816  was  handed  over  by  a  friend  of  Con- 
gregationalism as  a  gift  to  Hackney  College. 

Rev.  Thomas  Jackson  was  introduced  to  the  newly- 
formed  church  by  his  friend  and  tutor,  Rev.  Matthew 
Wilks.  Mr.  Jackson  seems  to  have  hesitated  for  some 
time  before  accepting  the  pastorate.  We  are  told  that 
religious  errors  were  prevalent,  and  threatened  great 
discomfort  to  a  minister  of  evangelical  views.  How- 
ever, the  difficulties  were  at  length  overcome,  and  Mr. 
Jackson  was  ordained  on  February  16,  1801. 

The  difficulties  feared  by  Mr.  Jackson  before  his 
acceptance  of  the  pastorate  do  not  seem  to  have 
troubled  the  church  during    his  ministry.     Under  his 



simple  and  earnest  preaching  the  church  grew  and 
prospered.  Twice  during  his  ministry  the  church  was 
enlarged,  and  five  hundred  members  were  added  to  the 

Mr.  Jackson's  sympathies  were  wider  than  his  work 
at  Stockwell.  Some  time  before,  Rev.  James  Bowden, 
of  Tooting,  had  formed  the  Surrey  Mission  for  preaching 
the  Gospel  in  the  villages  of  the  county.  Mr.  Jackson 
took  up  the  movement  with  great  heartiness,  and  for  ten 
years  worked  hard  as  the  Secretary  of  the  Mission. 
But  wider  even  than  Surrey  were  his  sympathies.  In 
1811  he  was  appointed  a  director  of  the  London 
Missionary  Society,  and  for  many  years  did  excellent 
service  for  the  great  work  of  missions.  In  days  when 
railroads  were  unknown  he  travelled  hundreds  of  miles 
advocating  the  spread  of  the  gospel  at  home  and  abroad. 
At  the  same  time  his  own  work  at  Stockwell  was  not 
neglected,  and  he  retained  the  confidence  and  affection 
of  his  people  till  the  last.  After  forty-two  years  of  faithful 
service  he  died  on  March  18, 1843,  in  his  sixty-ninth  year. 

For  fourteen  months  the  church  was  without  a 
pastor.  Many  candidates  preached,  but  the  members 
could  not  agree,  until,  one  Sunday,  having  heard  Rev. 
David  Thomas,  of  Chesham,  in  Buckinghamshire,  the 
church  unanimously  decided  that  it  had  found  the 
right  man. 

David  Thomas  was  the  son  of  Rev.  W.  Thomas,  of 
Vatsin,  near  Tenby.  He  came  of  a  worthy  ancestry, 
from  whom  he  inherited  physical  vigour,  mental  power, 
and  spiritual  calibre,  all  of  which  helped  to  make  the 
ministry  of  his  pulpit  and  the  wider  ministry  of  his  pen 
the  great  power  it  has  been. 

In  his  young  days,  as  a  Sunday  school  teacher  and 
local  preacher  he  prepared  himself  for  after  work,  and 

Rev-  David  Thomas,  D.D.,  Stockwell, 


was  so  successful  that  Rev.  Caleb  Morris  advised  him 
to  relinquish  business  and  enter  the  regular  ministry. 
At  this  time  he  was  married  and  had  one  son,  afterwards 
Rev.  Urijah  Thomas,  the  well-known  minister  of 
Bristol.  Still,  he  acted  on  the  advice  and  entered 
Newport  Pagnell  College.  On  the  completion  of  his 
college  course  he  settled  at  Chesham. 

He  entered  upon  his  labours  at  Stockwell  on  May  12, 
1844,  although  the  recognition  did  not  take  place  till 
December  4  following. 

For  the  first  two  years  of  his  pastorate  he  seems  to 
have  conducted  the  affairs  of  the  church  on  his  own 
responsibility.  No  deacons  were  appointed ;  he  just 
made  an  exception  to  Congregational  principles,  and 
took  the  reins  of  government  into  his  own  strong 
hands.  This  autocratic  administration  was  successful ; 
we  read  that  at  the  end  of  the  second  year  cosmos  was 
steadily  evolved  from  chaos,  and  the  constitutional 
form  of  government  was  resumed.  Then,  in  June, 
1846,  four  gentlemen  were  elected  as  deacons,  to  share 
with  the  minister  the  responsibilities  of  administration. 

One  of  the  first  acts  of  the  new  executive  was  to 
establish  day  schools  in  the  neighbourhood.  The 
Stockwell  Educational  Institute  was  erected  at  a  cost 
of  £1,500,  and  on  March  8,  1848,  the  building  was 
formally  opened,  Mr.  C.  Pearson  presiding.  Mr. 
Goodchild  and  Miss  Bishop  were  appointed  master  and 
mistress  on  June  14,  and  twelve  days  later  the  work 
was  begun  with  an  attendance  of  80  boys  and  girls. 
"Thus,"  to  quote  Dr.  Thomas,  "was  inaugurated  one 
of  the  best  day  schools  in  all  London."  It  has  been 
computed  by  Mr.  Chambers  that  no  less  than  six 
thousand  children  have  been  taught  there ;  amongst 
whom  were  at  least  twelve  ministers  and  missionaries, 

Q  2 


and  many  well-to-do  merchants  and  clerks  in  public 
offices.  The  total  cost  of  this  Institute  was  cleared 
within  twelve  months  of  opening. 

The  next  work  was  to  enlarge  and  improve  the 
chapel.  The  improvements  included  a  tower,  the  first 
of  its  kind  erected  in  connection  with  any  Noncon- 
formist church  in  London.  These  alterations  cost 
£1,600,  half  of  which  was  subscribed  before  the  work 
was  commenced.  The  work  was  finished  the  same 
year,  and  the  church  reopened  on  October  18,  1850. 
Six  years  later  the  debt  was  entirely  defrayed. 

About  this  time  Mr.  Thomas  received  a  diploma  of 
D.D.  from  one  of  the  American  Universities.  No 
English  University  then  thought  a  Nonconformist 
could  be  worthy  of  such  a  distinction. 

On  Sunday,  February  17,  1856,  a  Biblical  Liturgy, 
compiled  by  Dr.  Thomas,  was  introduced  into  the 
services  with  general  approval.  It  has,  however,  fallen 
into  disuse  for  many  years.  But  if  the  Liturgy  is  dead 
one  of  Dr.  Thomas's  hymns  will  live : 

"  Shew  pity,  Lord,  for  we  are  frail  and  faint," 

has  found  a  lasting  place  among  the  songs  of  the 

It  is  for  his  literary  labours  that  Dr.  Thomas  is  best 
known.  He  was  the  founder  of  the  Dial  newspaper, 
afterwards  incorporated  in  the  Morning  Star,  and  the 
author  of  some  fifty  volumes  of  various  works.  These 
include  several  commentaries,  "  Problemata  Mundi," 
"  Septem  in  Uno,"  "  The  Practical  Philosopher." 

The  best  known  of  all  his  works,  and  the  one  with 
which  his  name  will  always  be  associated  is  the 
Homilist,  which  extended  to  over  forty  volumes,  with 
an  aggregate  circulation  of  200,000  copies.     Dr.  Thomas 


commenced  the  Homilist  in  1853.  His  idea  was  to 
meet  the  wants  of  the  age  by  producing  a  scholarly 
periodical,  of  liberal  and  progressive  theological  views. 
That  the  need  existed  was  soon  proved  by  its  success. 
It  speedily  won  for  itself  a  unique  position  in  religious 
literature,  and  became  one  of  the  most  influential 
magazines  of  the  day,  and  has  left  an  abiding  mark 
upon  the  pulpit  of  every  communion. 

The  church  at  Stockwell  had  now  entered  upon  an 
era  of  prosperity  and  repute.  The  fame  of  its  pulpit 
was  throughout  the  land.  The  original  thought,  the 
clear  presentation  of  truth,  the  vigorous  and  courageous 
utterances,  and  the  charm  of  Dr.  Thomas's  personality 
were  appreciated  by  an  ever-widening  circle  of  intelli- 
gent and  thoughtful  listeners. 

The  far-reaching  influence  of  Dr.  Thomas  can  never 
be  fully  known.  The  biography  of  Mrs.  Booth,  of  the 
Salvation  Army,  bears  testimony  to  the  share  he  had  in 
forming  the  character  of  that  wonderful  woman.  At 
this  church  she  was  married  to  the  General.  From 
the  membership  of  Stockwell  came  Rev.  W.  Carlisle, 
the  leader  of  the  Church  Army.  Amongst  the  institu- 
tions that  owe  their  existence  to  Dr.  Thomas  is  the 
University  of  Wales.  And  he  gave  to  the  denomination 
and  to  the  ministry  of  Christ  his  son,  Urijah  Thomas, 
of  Redland  Park,  Bristol,  Chairman  of  the  Congrega- 
•  tional  Union  of  England  and  Wales,  and  one  of  the 
most  lovable  and  loving  of  the  saints  of  God. 

On  May  31,  1874,  Miss  Bishop,  who  had  held  the 
position  of  Mistress  of  the  Girls'  School  at  the  Stock- 
well  Institute  since  its  commencement  in  1848,  resigned 
in  consequence  of  failing  health.  The  same  year  Mrs. 
Thomas  passed  away,  and  a  few  months  later  the 
Doctor  announced  his  intention  to  resign  his  work  at 


the  end  of  the  year.  Although,  at  the  earnest  request 
of  friends,  he  held  his  resignation  over  for  some  months, 
he  made  his  final  decision  on  May  13,  1875,  in  a  letter 
read  by  his  son. 

One  reason  for  his  retirement  was  his  interest  in 
"The  Augustine  Independent  Church,"  an  iron  build- 
ing that  had  been  erected  in  the  Clapham  Road,  on  the 
site  now  occupied  by  St.  Augustine's  Church.  "  I  am 
pledged,"  said  he,  "to  the  public  to  give  the  new 
church  in  Clapham  Road  a  good  start."  Here  he 
continued  his  ministry  in  South  London  for  some  time. 
He  died  at  Ramsgate  on  Sunday,  December  30,  1894, 
at  the  age  of  83. 

Meanwhile,  great  changes  had  taken  place  in  Stock- 
well.  From  a  little  Surrey  village,  a  pleasant  walk  out 
of  London,  it  had  become  a  densely  populated  suburb. 
The  church  which  once  stood  facing  the  Green  had 
been  shut  out  of  sight  by  houses  and  a  brewery  built 
hard  by.  The  Green  itself  had  disappeared,  and  the 
whole  character  of  the  neighbourhood  had  changed. 

After  four  months'  interval,  an  invitation  was  given 
to  Rev.  J.  B.  Heard,  M.A.  Mr.  Heard  had  been  a 
clergyman  of  the  Church  of  England,  and  was  recom- 
mended by  many  influential  ministers  and  friends.  He 
was  recognised  November  2,  1875. 

Notwithstanding  the  change  in  its  surroundings,  the 
church  entered  upon  a  new  season  of  prosperity.  For 
the  fourth  time  the  building  was  altered  and  renovated. 
New  seats  were  placed  in  the  area,  and  another  organ 
purchased.  The  reopening  services  were  held  on 
October  20,  1876.  Unfortunately,  Mr.  Heard's  health 
failed,  and  on  July  4,  1878,  to  the  deep  regret  of  the 
church,  he  was  compelled  to  resign  his  office. 

The  choice  of  the  church  then  fell  upon  Rev.  Charles 


Chambers.  Mr.  Chambers  had  been  educated  for  the 
ministry  at  Bristol,  and  was  at  that  time  minister  at 
Swanage  in  Dorsetshire.  He  accepted  the  call  and 
commenced  his  ministry  October  12,  1878. 

During  Mr.  Chambers's  ministry  the  church  was 
again  renovated  and  decorated.  The  heavy  gallery 
fronts  were  removed,  and  light  ones  substituted ;  the 
seats  were  re-arranged,  and  other  improvements 
carried  out  at  a  cost  of  over  £700,  which  was  entirely 
met  in  about  twelve  months  after  the  reopening, 
October  13,  1881. 

For  nine  years  Mr.  Chambers  laboured  worthily.  His 
work  was  made  the  more  difficult  by  the  changing 
character  of  the  neighbourhood.  But,  ever  genial 
and  hopeful,  the  minister  worked  on  till,  in  1887, 
he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Sheffield.  Here  he 
continued  till  1895,  when  he  came  back  to  London 
to  take  up  an  arduous  pastorate  at  Stepney  Meeting, 
where  he  still  carries  on  the  work.  It  should  be 
recorded  that  from  Stockwell  Church  and  Sunday 
School,  during  Mr.  Chambers's  pastorate,  there  went 
forth  into  the  ministry  at  home  Rev.  T.  R.  Steer,  who 
for  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  century  has  laboured  at 
Mr.  Chambers's  old  pastorate  in  Swanage ;  Rev.  Arthur 
Pringle,  late  of  Maidstone  and  Caterham,  and  now  of 
Purley ;  and  Miss  Brown,  now  Mrs.  Cooper,  who  has 
been  associated  with  her  husband  in  missionary  work 
in  China. 

After  an  interval  of  some  months,  Rev.  R.  Cynon 
Lewis,  of  Morriston,  near  Swansea,  was  invited  to  fill 
the  vacant  pulpit.  He  commenced  his  ministry  on 
July  1,  1888.  The  same  year  saw  the  close  of  the  old 
day  schools,  in  consequence  of  the  recent  establish- 
ment of  Board  Schools  in  the  neighbourhood ;  and  this 


was  made  the  opportunity  of  presenting  the  late  head 
master,  Mr.  H.  C.  Goodchild,  who  had  that  year 
celebrated  his  jubilee  as  a  schoolmaster,  with  a  testi- 
monial. Mr.  Lewis  successfully  maintained  the  work 
for  two  years.  In  1890  the  Luton  church  invited  him 
to  its  pastorate.  He  closed  his  ministry  at  Stockwell, 
April  31.  After  eight  years  at  Luton  he  returned  to 
Lavender  Hill,  not  far  from  his  old  church.  He  has 
since  removed  to  Weston-super-Mare. 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  J.  Southwood  Jackson, 
a  student  of  New  College.  He  was  ordained  on 
Thursday,  October  9,  1890. 

Mr.  Jackson  proved  a  thoughtful  and  suggestive 
preacher ;  and  not  only  from  the  pulpit  but  in  the 
weekly  Bible  class  became  the  teacher  of  his  people. 
During  his  pastorate  the  idea  of  a  new  hall  was 
mooted.  It  was  first  proposed  to  build  in  front  of  the 
church,  but  this  was  found  to  be  impracticable,  and 
eventually  it  was  decided  to  reconstruct  the  Stockwell 
Educational  Institute,  extending  the  building  and 
thoroughly  renovating  it.  This  was  done  at  a  cost  of 
£"500,  and  the  Institute  was  formally  opened  in  1894 
by  Miss  Annie  Swan. 

In  March  and  April,  1896,  the  church  celebrated  its 
centenary;  Rev.  Urijah  Thomas,  two  former  pastors, 
and  several  neighbouring  ministers  occupying  the  pulpit 
during  the  month.  Mr.  Jackson  resigned  in  1897. 
During  his  pastorate  Mr.  Hayter  was  engaged  as  assis- 
tant evangelist  and  home  missioner,  and  worked  under 
the  direction  of  the  pastor  for  eighteen  months.  He  left 
Stockwell  at  Midsummer,  1897,  to  accept  the  charge 
of  a  country  church  near  Reading.  For  nearly  three 
years,  1899-1901,  the  pulpit  was  occupied  by  Rev. 
R.  D.  Wilson,  who  at  first  had  been  requested  to  take 

PUTNEY  233 

temporary  charge  for  three  months.  He  had  been 
early  in  life  an  officer  in  the  service  of  the  East  India 
Company,  and  after  entering  the  ministry  had  held 
charges  at  Burnley,  Wolverhampton,  Birmingham, 
Craven  Chapel,  Gainsborough,  and  Poplar.  Under  his 
experienced  guidance  the  various  agencies  of  the  church 
were  carried  on  with  considerable  success  till,  feeling 
the  infirmities  of  age,  Mr.  Wilson  laid  down  the  reins 
of  office  and  passed  into  well-earned  retirement.  His 
active  ministry  had  extended  over  no  less  than  fifty-one 
years.  He  died  at  Elmer's  End,  in  his  eighty-fifth 
year,  on  April  22,  1907. 

On  November  6,  1901,  Rev.  A.  Thurston  Pain,  of 
Hackney  College,  was  ordained,  and  still  ministers  to 
the  people,  carrying  on  an  exceedingly  useful  work 
under  very  difficult  conditions. 


(1799 — i860) 

Pleasantly  situated  on  the  banks  of  the  river,  and 
stretching  up  to  the  heath  above,  lies  Putney,  one  of  the 
most  desirable  suburbs  of  London.  Here  Thomas 
Cromwell  was  born,  and  Edward  Gibbon  first  saw 
the  light.  Here  too,  lived  and  died  William  Pitt  and 
Leigh  Hunt ;  and  here  Sir  Thomas  More  and  many 
another  distinguished  man  has  found  his  home. 

Even  to-day  Putney  retains  much  of  its  rural  charac- 
ter. Fields  and  lanes  are  within  easy  walk  ;  and  when 
one  has  climbed  the  hill  and  reached  the  heath,  the  busy 
city  is  done  with,  the  country  lies  beyond. 


At  the  beginning  of  the  last  century  Putney  seems  to 
have  been  in  a  very  dark  and  neglected  condition.  The 
first  movement  toward  better  things  was  in  1799,  when, 
we  are  told,  the  gospel  was  introduced,  not  without 
opposition,  by  the  Surrey  Mission  Society.  A  room 
was  opened  for  public  worship  by  Rev.  J.  Hughes,  of 
Battersea.  For  a  time  the  expenses  were  met  in  part 
by  the  mission,  until,  in  1805,  the  congregation  at 
Putney  took  the  whole  burden  upon  themselves. 
Shortly  after  they  were  again  compelled  to  look  for 

On  November  9,  1807,  seven  friends  met  to  consult 
as  to  building  a  place  of  worship.  They  raised  £57 
amongst  themselves,  and  formed  an  association  to 
obtain  further  help,  with  the  result  that  on  August  9, 
1808,  the  building  known  as  the  Piatt  Chapel  was 
opened.  The  services  were  well  attended,  and  £100 
was  raised  during  the  day  toward  the  total  cost  of 

Mr.  Corbin  was  the  first  minister.  He  was  invited 
to  preach  for  one  year,  but  there  does  not  seem  to  be 
any  further  record  of  his  services. 

The  Ordinance  of  the  Lord's  Supper  was  observed 
for  the  first  time  on  August  30,  1812 ;  but  not  until 
January  18,  1816,  does  the  church  appear  to  have  been 
regularly  constituted.  This  was  under  the  pastoral 
care  of  Rev.  John  Fryer,  who  resigned  on  March  25, 
1819.  The  pulpit  was  then  supplied  by  various 
ministers  and  students,  chiefly  from  Hoxton  Academy, 
until  1826.  In  September  of  that  year,  Rev.  Edward 
Miller  was  called  to  the  pastorate.  Mr.  Miller  was 
born  at  Atherstone,  Warwickshire,  in  1785.  He  was 
educated  at  Christ's  Hospital,  and  at  the  age  of  nine- 
teen obtained  a  situation  under  Government  which  he 

PUTNEY  235 

retained  for  many  years.  He  was  first  engaged  to 
supply  at  Putney  for  six  months,  and  at  the  end  of  that 
time  was  invited  to  accept  the  full  pastorate.  His 
ordination  took  place  on  July  26,  1827.  So  successful 
were  his  services,  that  the  place  soon  became  too  strait 
for  the  congregation.  Even  the  addition  of  a  gallery 
was  insufficient,  and  often  the  vestry  as  well  as  the 
chapel  was  crowded  on  a  Sunday  evening.  There  was 
also  a  flourishing  Sunday  school,  and  other  institutions. 
This  led  to  a  second  enlargement  of  the  church  in 

Mr.  Miller  remained  at  Putney  eight  years.  In 
1835  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  become  assistant  to 
Rev.  G.  Brown,  at  Clapham.  Two  years  later  he 
removed  to  Chiswick,  where  a  new  chapel  was  built  for 
him.  He  resigned  his  work  through  failing  health  in 
November,  1850,  and  died  on  June  28,  1857. 

Rev.  Samuel  Whitehead  was  the  next  pastor.  He 
accepted  the  charge  on  December  26,  1836,  and  con- 
tinued for  two  years.  He  was  succeeded  by  Rev. 
Robert  Ashton.  Mr.  Ashton  was  a  native  of  Hull, 
where  he  was  born  March  1,  1798.  He  entered  Hoxton 
Academy  in  1819,  and  held  pastorates  at  Dedham  and 
Warminster.  He  commenced  his  work  at  Putney  on 
February  26,  1840,  and  remained  till  April  21,  1850. 
He  was  afterwards  Secretary  to  the  Christian  Instruc- 
tion Society,  Surrey  Mission,  and  Christian  Witness 
Fund,  and  from  1852  was  joint  secretary  with  Dr. 
George  Smith,  of  the  Congregational  Union  of  England 
and  Wales.  He  died  while  sitting  at  the  tea-table  on 
Sunday,  July  21,  1878,  at  the  age  of  eighty. 

Rev.  William  Pollard  Davies  was  the  next  minister. 
He  was  born  at  Coventry  on  July  3,  1791.  He  studied 
at  Hoxton,  and  at  the  early  age  of  twenty-one  was 


ordained  pastor  of  Salem  Chapel,  Wellingborough.  He 
then  removed  to  Devonshire,  and  accepted  the  charge 
of  a  church  in  Plymouth,  where  he  remained  till  a 
severe  illness,  eight  years  later,  forced  him  to  retire. 
On  his  recovery,  he  became  pastor  of  a  church  at  Ash- 
burton,  where,  after  eleven  years,  he  was  again  laid 
aside.  He  entered  on  the  work  at  Putney  on  December  3, 
1850,  and  continued  till  May,  1856,  when  illness  again 
compelled  him  to  rest.  He  died  at  Leamington  on 
March  13,  1872,  in  his  eighty-second  year. 

The  pulpit  was  supplied  by  various  ministers  and 
students,  until  November  13,  1857,  when  Rev.  Thomas 
Davies,  of  Cardiff,  accepted  the  pastorate  for  twelve 
months.  During  this  period  the  jubilee  of  the  church 
was  celebrated  on  September  14,  1858. 

At  the  time  of  Mr.  Davies'  election,  five  members  of 
the  church  and  some  seatholders  withdrew,  and  formed 
the  Union  Church  in  the  Upper  Richmond  Road. 
Mr.  Davies  resigned  on  December  23,  i860,  and  the 
following  July,  Rev.  C.  J.  Evans,  of  Pembroke,  was 
chosen  pastor.  His  recognition  took  place  on  Tuesday, 
November  20,  1861,  the  occasion  being  also  the  53rd 
anniversary  of  the  church. 

Mr.  Evans  set  himself  with  much  determination  to 
the  work  of  preparing  the  people  for  a  new  church. 
The  old  chapel  was  situated  in  an  out-of-the-way 
position  off  the  Lower  Richmond  Road.  The  necessary 
co-operation,  however,  was  lacking,  and  Mr.  Evans 
shortly  afterwards  removed  to  Dawler,  near  Adelaide, 
in  South  Australia.  He  remained  in  Australia  till  1871. 
Then  he  returned  to  England,  and  threw  himself  into 
the  work  of  the  Turkish  Missions  Aid  Society.  He 
died  February  16,  1874. 

Rev.  Horrocks  Cocks  was  the  next  minister.     He  was 

PUTNEY  237 

born  at  Woolwich,  February  3,  1818,  and  was  educated 
for  the  Established  Church.  A  new  church  was  built 
for  him,  and  a  living  provided,  but  the  influence  of  his 
friend  and  schoolfellow,  Samuel  Martin,  led  him  to 
embrace  Nonconformist  principles,  and  he  entered 
Highbury  College  to  prepare  for  the  ministry.  On 
leaving  college,  he  accepted  a  charge  at  Stanstead,  and 
subsequently  held  pastorates  at  Stanford  Rivers,  Ingate- 
stone,  and  Boston  Spa  (Yorks.).  He  accepted  the 
pastorate  at  Putney  in  1865  and  remained  until  1870. 
Mr.  Cocks  was  a  man  of  considerable  literary  power, 
and  for  some  years  edited  the  Blackburn  Times,  and 
subsequently  the  Kensington  Gazette.  He  was  a  striking 
and  suggestive  preacher,  and  a  generous  helper  of  every 
good  work.  In  1878  he  went  to  Egham,  where  he 
remained  eight  years.  On  leaving  Egham  he  resided 
at  West  Kensington  until  his  death,  June  II,  1888. 

After  Mr.  Cocks's  departure,  the  old  Piatt  Chapel  was 
closed  for  a  short  time,  till  Mr.  W.  Evans  Hurndall 
(afterwards  of  Bow  and  Westminster  Chapels)  had  the 
building  renovated  and  reopened.  Mr.  Hurndall  was 
at  that  time  in  business,  but  with  the  assistance  of  one 
or  two  friends,  he  carried  on  the  services  and  Sunday 
school  for  two  or  three  years. 

By  this  time  the  neighbourhood  was  rapidly  extending, 
and  Mr.  Hurndall  felt  the  time  had  come  to  obtain  a 
new  church.  After  much  counsel  and  prayer,  a  site 
was  procured  in  the  Oxford  Road  at  a  cost  of  £750. 
Here  an  iron  chapel  was  erected  to  accommodate  500 
persons.  The  total  outlay  was  £1,600.  It  was  opened 
on  September  22,  1872.  Here  a  fellowship  was  formed. 
For  a  while  the  Piatt  Chapel  was  used  for  mission 
purposes,  but  after  a  time  it  was  felt  wiser  to  concen- 
trate all  efforts  on  the  church  in  Oxford  Road,  and  the 


old  chapel  was  abandoned.  Soon  after  the  iron  church 
was  opened,  Mr.  Hurndall  left  Putney  to  enter  Cam- 
bridge University  in  preparation  for  the  work  of  the 
regular  ministry.  Rev.  P.  M.  Eastman,  from  Hackney 
College,  was  then  invited  to  take  charge  of  the  work. 
He  was  ordained  in  March,  1873.  After  a  short  but 
successful  ministry  of  eighteen  months  he  accepted  an 
invitation  to  Honiton  in  Devon.  He  has  since  laboured 
at  Long  Melford  and  Boston  Spa,  and  now  lives  in 
retirement  at  Maidenhead. 

The  church  then  called  Rev.  Walter  Novelle  to  the 
vacant  pulpit.  He  resigned  in  1879,  and  was  followed 
in  1880  by  Rev.  Stephen  Todd  of  the  Raffles  Memorial 
Church,  Liverpool. 

Mr.  Todd  retained  the  pastorate  till  December,  1893, 
when,  after  forty-one  years  of  ministerial  work,  he 
retired  from  active  service.  He  still  resides  in  Putney. 
After  an  interval  of  nearly  three  years  an  invitation 
was  given  to  the  Rev.  A.  Norman  Rowland,  M.A.,  to 
take  up  the  work  at  Oxford  Road. 

Mr.  Rowland,  who  is  the  son  of  Rev.  Dr.  Rowland, 
the  honoured  minister  of  Crouch  End,  was  educated  at 
Balliol  and  Mansfield  Colleges,  Oxford.  He  was 
ordained  in  January,  1897. 

Three  years  later  it  was  felt  that  the  time  had  come 
when  the  Union  Church  in  Ravenna  Road  might  be 
amalgamated  with  the  Oxford  Road  Fellowship. 

This  church,  it  will  be  remembered,  was  formed  in 
1857,  by  the  secession  of  a  few  members  from  the  old 
Piatt  Chapel.  A  capital  site  was  procured  in  the 
Upper  Richmond  Road  and  a  handsome  building 
erected.  The  original  idea  of  the  church  was  to 
form  an  undenominational  fellowship,  and  they 
appealed  to  brethen  of  all  communions  for  sympathy 

PUTNEY  239 

in  their  effort  "to  unite  the  scattered  members  of 
Christ's  flock."  The  first  minister  was  Rev.  John 
Knox  Stallybrass,  who  came  from  Ebenezer  Chapel, 
Birmingham,  and  commenced  his  ministry  with  gratify- 
ing tokens  of  success. 

On  March  26,  1861,  the  foundation  stone  of  the  new 
church  was  laid  by  Sir  Morton  Peto,  M.P.,  and  the 
building  was  opened  in  the  following  October.  But 
soon  after  this,  causes  which  seemed  to  him  imperative 
moved  Mr.  Stallybrass  to  retire.  For  some  time  after 
Mr.  Stallybrass's  removal,  the  church  was  without  a 
pastor.  Then,  in  March,  1864,  a  Baptist  minister,  Rev. 
J.  T.  Gale,  took  up  the  work.  His  pastorate  was  of  no 
long  duration,  and  he  was  followed  in  1868  by  Rev.  G. 
Nicholson,  B.A.,  who  remained  till  1876.  On  Mr. 
Nicholson's  retirement,  Rev.  R.  A.  Redford,  M.A., 
LL.B.,  of  Streatham  Hill,  accepted  the  pastorate,  and 
for  twenty-four  years  exercised  a  cultured  and  faithful 
ministry.  It  was  on  his  retirement  in  1900  that  the 
amalgamation  between  the  two  churches  was  effected. 
Mr.  Rowland  was  unanimously  elected  as  pastor  of  the 
combined  fellowship,  now  Union  Church  in  a  double 

The  amalgamation  thus  carried  through  in  the  happiest 
way  has  produced  a  strong  and  united  church.  During 
the  last  twelve  months  considerable  alterations  and 
improvements  have  been  carried  out,  and  the  land  on 
which  the  church  stands  has  been  purchased  at  a  cost 
of  £1,076.  The  old  iron  chapel  in  Oxford  Road  is 
retained  for  social  and  mission  work. 




Although  Richard  Byfield  was  ejected  from  Long 
Ditton,  there  does  not  seem  to  have  been  organised  Non- 
conformity in  this  parish  till  the  beginning  of  the  nine- 
teenth century.  Byfield  was  an  ardent  Reformer,  and 
had  he  continued  to  live  in  the  parish  would  doubtless 
have  gathered  a  church  there  ;  but  he  removed  soon  after 
his  ejectment  to  Mortlake,  where  he  died  December  26, 
1664,  aged  sixty-seven. 

In  1804,  a  chapel  at  Weston  Green,  in  the  parish  of 
Thames  Ditton,  was  erected  by  Jacob  Hansler,  Esq.,  at 
his  own  expense. 

Mr.  Hansler  had  formerly  worshipped  at  Orange 
Street  Chapel,  then  Episcopal  ;  and  being  dissatisfied 
with  the  ministry  at  the  parish  church,  he  took  a  cottage 
once  occupied  by  the  notorious  William  Huntington, 
and  had  services  conducted  there  until  he  obtained  the 
site  on  which  the  chapel  was  erected.  It  was  opened 
on  November  21. 

For  ten  years  the  chapel  was  supplied  by  various 
preachers  from  London,  at  the  expense  of  Mr.  Hansler. 
During  this  time  the  Church  of  England  liturgy  was 

After  Mr.  Hansler's  death  in  1814,  the  congregation 
wished  for  a  settled  minister,  and  invited  Rev.  James 
Churchill,  of  Henley.  He  accepted  the  pastorate  the 
same  year  on  the  understanding  that  the  church  would 
be  conducted  on  Congregational  principles.  He  was 
dissatisfied  with  the  lax  system  of  open  communion, 
and  equally  with  the  rigid  methods  then  followed  by 


most  Dissenters.  He  therefore  adopted  a  middle  course, 
practically  identical  with  the  usual  custom  of  the  present 
day,  members  being  nominated  at  one  communion 
service,  and  received  at  the  next  unless  reasonable 
objection  were  made.  Mr.  Churchill  was  a  man  of  great 
ability  and  power,  and  so  esteemed  that  London  city 
merchants  used  to  attend  his  anniversaries  in  consider- 
able numbers.  At  such  times  long  lines  of  carriages 
would  be  seen  waiting  outside  the  chapel,  whilst  within 
the  collection  amounted  often  to  as  much  as  £40,  a  con- 
siderable sum  in  those  days  for  a  village  congregation. 

Waddington  mentions  several  instances  of  the  respect 
shown  to  Mr.  Churchill  by  persons  of  high  rank; 
amongst  others,  that  when  he  was  conducting  a  service 
at  the  opening  of  a  school  at  Oxshott,  the  Duchess  of 
Kent  (mother  of  Queen  Victoria)  and  her  brother, 
afterwards  King  Leopold  I.  of  Belgium,  stood  by  his 
side.  He  adds  that  he  was  the  means  of  leading  several 
clergymen  of  the  Establishment  into  the  way  of  truth. 
Like  many  other  ministers  of  those  days  he  conducted 
a  school,  and  so  added  considerably  to  the  income  of  a 
village  pastor.  During  his  pastorate  a  Sunday  school 
was  commenced  with  fifty-three  scholars. 

After  a  successful  pastorate  of  thirty  years,  Mr. 
Churchill  resigned  his  charge  on  October  28,  1844.  He 
was  eighty  years  of  age  and  had  a  little  while  previously 
been  enfeebled  by  the  loss  of  his  wife.  He  died  in 
London  on  March  3,  1849,  in  the  eighty-third  year  of 
his  age  and  fifty-third  of  his  ministry.  Notwithstanding 
Mr.  Churchill's  popularity  it  does  not  seem  that  the 
church  at  Thames  Ditton  ever  acquired  strength  to 
excite  general  interest  in  the  neighbourhood. 

In  1844,  Rev.  George  Evans  succeeded  to  the  pas- 
torate.    Mr.  Evans  was  born  in  1778,  and  was  brought 



under  the  influence  of  the  Gospel  in  the  Countess  of 
Huntingdon's  connexion.  His  first  charge  was  at 
Goring,  in  Oxfordshire,  where  he  laboured  till  1807. 
He  then  ministered  to  a  small  church  in  Red  Lion 
Court,  Spitalfields,  and  a  year  later  removed  to  Mile  End 
New  Town,  where  he  gathered  a  large  congregation. 

He  did  not  live  long  after  his  removal  to  Thames 
Ditton,  but  died  September  15,  1846.  His  successor  was 
Rev.  Edward  Pay,  who  began  life  as  a  schoolmaster, 
taking  occasional  supplies  in  the  pulpits  of  the  neigh- 
bourhood where  he  lived.  His  preaching  being  accept- 
able he  was  strongly  urged  to  devote  himself  to  the 
ministry,  and  on  the  death  of  Mr.  Evans  accepted  the 
pastorate.  He  had  great  difficulties  to  contend  with, 
but  for  nine  years  sustained  an  honourable  ministry, 
and  received  many  into  fellowship.  In  1857  ne 
removed  to  Brightlingsea,  where  he  died  in  1873.  He 
was  followed  by  Rev.  W.  A.  Popley. 

When  Mr.  Popley  took  up  the  work  he  had  a  congre- 
gation of  four  to  begin  with.  No  way  disheartened,  he 
set  himself  by  strenuous  effort  to  revive  the  church  ;  and 
before  the  end  of  the  first  year  the  congregation  was  in  a 
position  to  raise  £80  for  the  minister,  and  the  follow- 
ing year  £119  for  church  renovation. 

In  1878  Captain  Hansler,  grandson  of  the  founder  of 
the  church,  left  £600  in  consols  the  interest  cf  which 
was  to  go  to  the  upkeep  of  the  chapel. 

In  188 1  Mr.  Popley  resigned,  and  died  at  Brighton 
in  1892.  After  his  departure  the  little  cause  dwindled 
and  became  almost  extinct.  It  was  eventually  reduced 
to  one  member,  Mrs.  Crowhurst,  who  had  the  honour  of 
holding  the  fort  for  Congregationalism  in  Thames 
Ditton,  alone. 

In    1882   it  was  taken  over  by   the    Congregational 


Church  at  Kingston  and  Rev.  J.  Onley  was  appointed 
pastor,  with  Rev.  G.  Burgoyne  from  Brandeston,  Suffolk, 
to  serve  under  him  as  Evangelist.  This  arrangement 
continued  for  four  years  until  by  the  help  of  the  Surrey 
Union  the  little  church  became  strong  enough  again  to 
standalone.  Then  Mr.  Onley  resigned  and  Mr.  Burgoyne 
was  elected  pastor. 

In  1887  Miss  Varnell  presented  an  American  organ 
to  the  church,  which  was  an  invaluable  aid  to  the 
psalmody.  In  1889  the  church  was  repaired,  £110 
being  raised  by  two  sales  of  work. 

In  1893,  in  consequence  of  increasing  deafness,  Rev.  G. 
Burgoyne  resigned  after  a  faithful  ministry  of  eleven 
years  carried  on  amid  great  difficulties,  and  the  following 
year,  1894,  Rev-  Walter  Greig  took  up  the  work.  Mr. 
Greig  was  recognised  on  September  27, 1894.  At  his 
recognition  service  Mr.  Greig  announced  his  intention  of 
building  a  new  chapel.  He  remarked  that  "  he  never 
knew  a  prosperous  church  with  only  one  room  for  all 
its  meetings."  The  work  seemed  at  first  an  impos- 
sibility, but  a  church  meeting  was  called,  and  permission 
given  to  the  minister  to  build  if  the  church  was  opened 
free  of  debt.  Nothing  daunted  Mr.  Greig  at  once  took  up 
the  work,  and  after  five  years'  incessant  effort  obtained 
two-thirds  of  the  amount. 

The  foundation  stone  was  laid  in  June,  1899,  by  Mrs. 
Scriven,  of  Tudor  Court,  and  on  November  28  of  the 
same  year  the  new  sanctuary  was  opened  by  a  sermon 
from  Rev.  J.  Morlais  Jones,  of  Lewisham.  Including 
site,  the  chapel  cost  £2,500  and  within  a  year  of  open- 
ing every  penny  was  paid. 

Mr.  Greig  had  thus  redeemed  his  promise,  but  the 
state  of  his  health  did  not  allow  him  long  to  minister  in 
the  church   he  had  built.     After  ten  years'  labour   he 

R  2 


retired  in  1904,  much  to  the  regret  of  his  people,  and 
has  lately  passed  to  his  rest. 

The  same  year  an  invitation  was  given  to  Rev.  J.  G. 
Tolley,  to  accept  the  pastorate.  Mr.  Tolley  was  trained 
for  the  ministry  at  Hackney  College,  and  has  held 
pastorates  at  Parkstone,  Mansfield,  and  Basingstoke 
(Asst.).  He  thus  brings  to  the  work  a  fund  of  experience 
and  there  is  every  reason  to  hope  that  prosperous  days 
are  before  the  little  cause  that  has  bravely  struggled  on 
through  many  difficulties. 


(18H-1857  (?)  ) 

This  was  one  of  the  places  described  in  181 1  and 
1827  as  "  Calvinistic  Methodist."  It  was  at  the  latter 
date,  and  for  several  years  afterwards,  the  scene  of  the 
ministry  of  Rev.  R.  T.  Hunt,  who  was  subsequently 
pastor  at  Collier's  Rents.  From  1835  to  1857  we  have 
no  account  of  its  ministers  or  connection  ;  but  in  the 
year  last  named  it  was  controlled  by  the  London 
Chapel  Building  Society,  under  whose  auspices  Rev. 
W.  H.  Aylen,  B.A.,  a  Cheshunt  student  who  had 
ministered  for  four  years  at  Salisbury,  was  appointed 
to  the  charge. 

Mr.  Aylen  remained  till  March,  i860.  Of  his  after 
course  we  are  not  informed.  He  was  followed  by  Rev. 
Norman  Glass,  from  Cardiff,  who  removed  to  Basing- 
stoke  in  1863,  and  died  thirty  years  later  after  a  varied 
and   useful  but    somewhat    troubled    ministry.      Next 


came  Rev.  T.  Stephenson,  from  Richmond  Wesleyan 
College.  In  1867  he  removed  to  Burdett  Road, 
Stepney.  Rev.  T.  W.  Tozer,  from  Dudley,  succeeded 
in  1868,  and  laboured  for  nearly  nine  years  amidst 
much  discouragement.  He  then  removed  to  Ipswich, 
where  he  laboured  happily  for  fifteen  years.  In  1890 
he  retired  from  the  regular  ministry,  but  was  for  long 
after  engaged  in  valuable  social  and  philanthropic 
work  at  Ipswich,  where  he  died  September  9,  1903. 
Rev.  W.  Telfer  was  his  successor  in  the  Kennington 
pastorate.  After  abundant  and  fruitful  labours  as  a 
rural  evangelist  and  as  a  town  missionary  in  Leeds,  he 
had  ministered  successfully  for  two  years  at  Glossop 
and  for  fifteen  years  at  Whittlesea,  Cambs.  At  first 
the  result  of  his  labours  in  Kennington  was  very 
encouraging.  The  building  was  filled,  many  were  led 
to  decision,  and  it  was  resolved  to  buy  the  freehold  and 
rebuild  the  church.  But  unhappily  dissensions  broke 
out,  disappointment  weighed  upon  his  spirits,  and  his 
health  failed.  He  resigned  in  February,  1886,  and 
died  August  7,  following,  in  the  sixty-ninth  year  of  his 
age  and  thirty-seventh  of  his  ministry.  The  church 
then  disappears  from  the  lists  of  the  Union. 



Although  a  church  governed  on  strictly  Congre- 
gational principles  has  only  existed  here  since  181 1, 
the  history  of  Nonconformity  in  Wandsworth  goes 
back  to  the  sixteenth  century. 


In  November,  1572,  a  company  of  godly  men  met  at 
Wandsworth,  and  after  prayerful  consideration  resolved 
that  "  Since  they  could  not  have  the   word   of  God 
preached,    nor   the  sacraments    administered    without 
idolatrous   geare,  it  was  their  duty  to  break  off  from 
the   public   churches,    and  to   assemble    as   they   had 
opportunity,  in  private  houses  or  elsewhere,  to  worship 
God  in  a  manner  that  might  not  offend  against  the 
light  of  their   consciences."      They  then    drew   up   a 
Scheme     of     Discipline,     substantially     Presbyterian, 
"  resolving    to    practise    it    as    far    as    the    evil   cir- 
cumstances  of    the    times    permitted."       This    meet- 
ing  has   been    claimed    as    "  the    first    Presbytery  in 
England."      Amongst    those    present    were    some   of 
the    most    eminent    Puritans   of    the    day.      Thomas 
Cartwright,     the     deprived    Cambridge    Professor    of 
Divinity  ;  Walter  Travers,  the  friend  of  Beza ;  John 
Field,  lecturer  at  Wandsworth,  and  one  of  the  authors 
of  the  "  Admonition  to  Parliament "  ;  Dudley  Fenner, 
Stephen  Egerton,  and  others.     Eleven  of  the  laymen 
present  were  appointed  elders,  and  the  gathering  was 
virtually,  if  not  formally,  a  meeting  of  presbytery.     But 
"there  was  no  formal  constitution  of  a  church  court,  no 
separate  congregations  were  gathered  from  the  parishes, 
no     chapels     erected     for     Nonconformist     worship," 
according   to    McCrie's  "  Annals   of  English    Presby- 
terianism."      Waddington   says  :    "  The  Presbytery  of 
Wandsworth,    'erected'    on    paper,    was    immediately 
demolished  ;  the  leaders  of  the  party  succumbed,  and 
their  meetings  were  discontinued."     But,  according  to 
Bishop   Bancroft's   "  Dangerous  Positions,"  published 
in  1593,  "they  had  their  meetings  of  ministers,  termed 
brethren,  in  private  houses  in  London  [eight  ministers 
are  named],  which  meetings  were  called  conferences, 


according  to  the  plot  in  the  first  and  second  admonitions 

The  "Scheme  of  Discipline  "  above  referred  to  was 
printed  in  1642,  and  had  some  influence  in  shaping  the 
Presbyterian  organisations  under  the  Long  Parliament. 
As  to  the  men  who  endeavoured  to  realise  it,  their 
names,  numbers,  and  places  of  meeting  are  unknown. 
A  tradition  was  long  and  lovingly  cherished  that  the 
old  chapel  in  High  Street,  formerly  used  by  French 
refugees,  and  pulled  down  in  1883,  had  been  erected 
for  and  used  by  those  early  Wandsworth  Presbyterians. 
But  it  is  more  likely  their  meetings  were  in  private 
houses,  and  were  sooner  or  later  discontinued. 

The  old  chapel  had  an  interest  of  its  own,  though 
neither  Presbyterian  nor  Congregational.  It  was 
probably  erected  by  the  refugees  for  their  own  use. 
The  French  church  died  out  in  the  eighteenth  century, 
the  building  was  closed  and  became  private  property, 
and  after  being  licensed  for  Episcopal  worship  whilst  the 
parish  church  was  rebuilt,  it  was  used  as  a  storehouse 
for  building  material.  At  some  time  during  its  history  it 
was  used  by  John  Wesley,  who  often  preached  in  the 
old  building,  and  who  here  baptised  his  first  heathen 
convert,  a  negro  brought  over  from  the  West  Indies 
by  a  resident  of  Wandsworth,  Francis  Gilbert,  brother 
of  the  Speaker  in  the  House  of  Representatives  at 

Wesley  at  first  found  the  people  very  cold  and 
indifferent,  but  shortly  before  his  death  he  writes  more 
hopefully.  He  says  "  I  preached  once  more  at  poor 
Wandsworth.  The  house  was  more  crowded  than  it 
has  been  for  several  years,  and  I  could  not  but  hope 
that  God  will  once  more  build  up  the  waste  places." 

The   next    we    hear    of    the    old   chapel    is   that   a 


Mr.  Mackenzie  hired  it  and  preached  in  it  sometimes. 
He  was  succeeded  by  a  Mr.  Best,  who  preached  till  age 
and  infirmity  made  it  clear  that  he  could  no  longer 
minister  to  the  people,  when  Rowland  Hill  took  it 
under  his  care. 

He  arranged  for  the  retirement  of  Mr.  Best  and  for 
the  supply  of  the  pulpit  through  the  Evangelical  Asso- 
ciation, afterwards  the  Hackney  Theological  Seminary, 
and  now  the  Hackney  College. 

In  1808,  that  Association  purchased  the  lease  of  the 
chapel,  and  afterwards  the  freehold,  for  £34°>  the  family 
from  whom  it  was  purchased  retaining  a  pew  sufficient 
to  seat  six  persons.  Then  the  committee  bought  a 
strip  of  ground  at  the  side,  and,  having  renovated  and 
reseated  the  chapel  at  an  outlay  of  £1,600,  reopened 
it  on  January  10,  1809. 

The  first  pastor  in  the  restored  building  was  Rev. 
James  Elvey,  who  organised  a  church  on  Congrega- 
tional principles.  He  became  pastor  in  February,  1811, 
and  held  the  charge  till  1817.  He  was  followed  two 
years  later  by  Rev.  W.  Seaton,  who  went  over,  in  1824, 
to  the  Established  Church. 

The  following  year  Rev.  J.  E.  Richards  accepted  the 
pastorate.  Mr.  Richards  was  born  at  Penryn  on 
September  20,  1798.  He  commenced  preaching  in  the 
villages  when  quite  a  lad,  and  was  only  seventeen  when 
he  entered  Hackney  College.  His  first  charge  was  at 
Mevagissey,  Cornwall,  where  he  remained  six  years. 
During  Mr.  Richards's  pastorate  the  chapel  was  repaired 
at  a  cost  of  £500,  and  a  vestry  and  schoolroom  built. 
The  renovated  building  was  opened  on  Wednesday, 
June  8,  1831.  At  this  time  there  were  seventy  members 
in  fellowship,  a  prosperous  Sunday  school  and  an 
extensive  Christian  Instruction  Society. 


In  1848  Mr.  Richards  removed  to  Coverdale  Chapel, 
Limehouse.  The  last  six  years  of  his  ministry  were 
spent  at  Albion  Chapel,  Hammersmith.  He  resigned 
the  regular  work  of  the  pastorate  in  1868,  at  the  age  of 
seventy,  but  for  several  years  served  the  churches  as  an 
occasional  supply.  He  passed  to  his  rest  August  26,  1884. 
He  was  the  oldest  minister  on  the  London  Board,  and 
the  oldest  but  one  in  the  denomination.  For  nineteen 
years  he  was  Secretary  of  the  Surrey  Mission,  and  for 
thirty  years  secretary  of  Hackney  College.  After  an 
interval  of  eighteen  months  Mr.  George  Palmer 
Davis,  B. A.,  a  student  of  Homerton  College,  was  invited 
to  the  vacant  pulpit  at  Wandsworth,  but  his  health 
failed  and  he  removed  in  March,  1854. 

Rev.  Portas  Hewart  Davison  succeeded  him  on  the 
first  day  of  1855.  He  was  a  native  of  Hull,  where  he 
was  born  April  28,  1819,  and  like  his  predecessor  com- 
menced preaching  when  a  mere  lad.  After  finishing  his 
college  course  at  Rotherham  he  became  pastor  of  the 
church  at  Dronfield,  Derbyshire,  and  afterwards  at 
Cockermouth.  Wandsworth  had  by  this  time  grown 
from  a  small  village  to  a  suburb  of  ten  thousand  people, 
and  the  inconveniently  situated  little  chapel  was  quite 
inadequate  to  the  needs  of  the  place.  A  freehold  site 
was  obtained  in  a  commanding  position  upon  the  East 
Hill,  and  on  November  22,  1859,  John  Churchill,  Esq., 
laid  the  foundation  stone.  The  chapel  was  opened  on 
September  6,  i860;  Rev.  Dr.  Alexander  preached  in  the 
morning,  and  the  Rev.  A.  M.  Henderson  in  the  evening. 

The  report  of  the  Chapel  Building  Society  the 
following  year  is  able  to  state  that  the  entire  amount 
of  the  cost — over  £3,000 — has  been  raised  and  paid,  and 
already  a  congregation  has  gathered  equal  to  the 
capacity  of  the  building.     Mr.  Davison's  best  work  was 


done  at  Wandsworth,  but  it  was  too  much  for  his 
strength.  His  health,  never  very  robust,  broke  down. 
In  1869  he  resigned  the  charge,  and  the  following  year 
accepted  a  call  to  Wellington  in  Somerset,  where  he 
laboured  three  years.  He  continued  to  reside  there  till 
his  death  on  January  7,  1894. 

In  1871  Rev.  D.  Bloomfield  James,  of  Castle  Green 
Chapel,  Bristol,  became  pastor,  and  so  greatly  did  the 
congregations  increase  under  his  ministry  that  in  1876 
it  was  found  necessary  to  secure  additional  land  and 
enlarge  the  building.  This  was  done  at  a  cost  of  nearly 
£5,000.  The  body  of  the  old  structure  was  made  the 
transept  of  the  new,  and  the  seating  accommodation 
was  increased  to  hold  1,030  worshippers.  A  handsome 
white  stone  pulpit,  with  inlaid  marble,  and  marble 
pillars  was  presented  to  the  church  by  one  of  the 
deacons,  Mr.  J.  Toms  of  Kensington  and  Enfield. 

In  1878  Mr.  James  removed  to  Swansea,  and  the 
church  remained  without  a  pastor  till  1880  when  Rev. 
John  Park,  of  Stroud,  accepted  a  call  to  the  vacant 
pulpit.  That  same  year  a  successful  effort  was  made 
to  clear  off  the  remainder  of  the  debt. 

The  extinction  of  the  debt  was  the  opportunity  for 
fresh  enterprise.  A  handsome  building  adjoining  the 
church  was  erected  for  the  Sunday  school,  comprising 
lecture  hall,  class  rooms,  vestries,  etc.  This  was 
opened  in  December,  1882.  The  congregation  then 
turned  its  attention  to  the  original  building  down  in 
the  High  Street.  Here  a  school  was  also  carried  on, 
and  Mr.  C.  W.  Toms  and  Mr.  Henry  Geard,  two  of  the 
deacons,  provided  lectures  and  popular  entertainments 
during  the  week  for  the  working  classes.  These  and 
other  works  carried  on  by  the  church  were  sadly  incon- 
venienced for  lack  of  efficient  accommodation.     So  it 

Old  Church,  Wandsworth. 

East  Hill  Church,  Wandsworth. 


was  determined  to  pull  down  this  ancient  building  and 
erect  a  large  hall  capable  of  holding  some  500  persons. 

Mr.  James  Curtis,  who  had  stimulated  the  removal 
of  the  debt,  promised  a  further  generous  donation  of 

For  the  last  time  the  friends  gathered  in  the  old 
building,  hallowed  by  so  many  sacred  memories.  The 
pastor  gave  out  the  hymn — 

"  Here  we  suffer  grief  and  pain, 
Here  we  meet  to  part  again, 
In  Heaven  we  part  no  more." 

Shortly  after,  the  old  building  was  pulled  down,  and 
the  memorial  stones  of  the  new  hall  were  laid  by 
Mr.  C.  W.  Toms  and  Mr.  Henry  Geard.  This  was 
opened  in  1883,  and  at  once  became  a  centre  of  much 
religious  and  philanthropic  effort.  The  hall  accommo- 
dates 500  people,  and  cost  £4,000.  In  the  year  1884 
the  church  also  erected  at  Earlsfield,  on  ground  bought 
by  the  London  Congregational  Union,  a  mission  hall 
to  hold  400  people,  the  whole  cost  of  which  has  been 
paid.  The  congregation  now  worshipping  there  became 
some  years  later,  with  the  hearty  consent  of  the  East 
Hill  church,  sufficiently  strong  to  be  formed  into  a 
distinct  fellowship. 

In  1904,  under  the  superintendence  of  Mr.  R.  Piggott, 
B.A.,  a  new  mission  hall  was  built  in  Garratt  Lane, 
costing  over  £2,000  including  the  site,  and  here  a  most 
successful  work  has  been  carried  on.  There  is  also 
good  mission  work  done  at  Eltringham  Street,  in 
premises  hired  by  the  church.  Altogether  during  the 
present  ministry  the  total  outlay  on  the  various  buildings 
has  been  nearly  £13,000. 

At  a  church  meeting  held  in  1899  it  was  resolved  to 


raise  a  sum  of  one  thousand  guineas  for  the  Twentieth 
Century  Fund.  At  the  end  of  igoi  the  sum  of  £1,098 
had  been  forwarded  to  the  treasurer,  the  whole  of  which 
was  devoted  to  the  Central  Fund. 

The  twenty-fifth  anniversary  of  Mr.  Park's  settlement 
was  celebrated  on  April  19,  1905,  by  an  enthusiastic 
meeting,  at  which  the  pastor  was  presented  with  £500 
and  a  gold  watch,  and  Mrs.  Park  with  a  diamond 
brooch.  The  church  at  that  time  had  over  600  mem- 
bers in  fellowship,  exclusive  of  missions,  and  over  1,800 
scholars  in  the  four  Sunday  schools. 

Mr.  Park  retired  in  1906,  after  thirty-six  years  of 
ministerial  service.  The  following  year  a  call  was  given 
to  Rev.  W.  L.  Lee,  who  had  ministered  for  thirteen 
years  at  Kettering. 



One  of  the  most  interesting  localities  around  London 
is  the  village,  or  as  it  should  now  be  termed,  the  suburb, 
of  Merton.  It  is  a  very  ancient  parish.  The  Priory  here 
was  established  in  1117,  and  gave  to  Thomas  a  Becket 
his  education.  Here  also  was  educated  Walter  de 
Merton,  who  was  Lord  High  Chancellor  in  1260  and 
who  founded  Merton  College  at  Oxford.  The  Statutes 
of  Merton  were  passed  by  the  Barons  assembled  in 
Council  in  the  reign  of  Henry  III.  Later  it  found 
repute  as  the  residence  of  Nelson,  who  lived  with  the 
Hamilton s  at  Merton  Place.  An  entry  occurs  in  his 
diary   of  September  13,  1805,  when  he  left  six  weeks 

MERTON  253 

before  his  death  :  "  At  half  past  ten  drove  from  dear, 
dear  Merton,  where  I  left  all  that  I  hold  dear  in  this 
world  to  go  to  serve  my  King  and  Country." 

Merton  will  be  interesting  also  to  many  as  the  place 
where  William  Morris  established  his  manufacturing 
settlement  in  some  disused  print  works  on  the  high  road 
from  London  to  Epsom. 

The  Nonconformity  of  Merton  dates  from  the  end  of 
the  eighteenth  century,  when  a  Mr.  Ovington,  of 
Clapham,  conducted  services  amidst  great  opposition 
from  the  villagers. 

A  room  was  opened  in  1798,  and  application  was 
made  to  the  London  Itinerant  Society  for  preachers. 
The  first  meeting  was  conducted  by  Rev.  Mr.  Upton  of 

In  1816  the  house  in  which  they  met  was  altered  and 
adapted  for  public  worship,  and  a  new  front  elevation 
erected  at  a  cost  of  £150.  The  building  was  crowded 
to  excess. 

The  church  was  formed  in  1818,  with  forty-five 
members.  Mr.  Adolphus  Erlebach  undertook  the 
pastorate  and  continued  with  the  church  for  over  six- 
teen years,  till  in  1834  he  accepted  a  call  to  the  Indepen- 
dent Church  at  Tamworth. 

In  1837  a  friend  of  the  cause,  Mr.  Winterflood,  in 
addition  to  a  donation  of  £100,  purchased  a  piece  of 
ground  in  the  Morden  Road,  on  which  a  new  chapel  was 
erected.  The  foundation  stone  was  laid  by  Rev.  George 
Clayton,  of  Walworth,  on  September  10,  1839  ;  and  the 
building,  which  seated  800  people,  was  opened  the  follow- 
ing July. 

The  church  was  variously  supplied  till  the  settlement, 
in  1846,  of  Rev.  John  Shedlock.  Mr.  Shedlock  was 
born  in  London,  December  5, 1814,  and  was  converted 


under  the  preaching  of  Dr.  Leifchild.  He  was  articled 
to  the  great  engineer  Brunei,  and  eventually  became  a 
contractor  for  a  portion  of  the  G.  W.  Railway  about 
Maidenhead  and  Reading.  Whilst  living  at  Reading 
he  frequently  preached  in  the  villages  and  finally  gave 
himself  entirely  to  the  work  of  the  ministry.  He 
studied  at  Glasgow  University  and  at  the  Theological 
Academy.  He  remained  at  Merton  till  i85i,when  he 
removed  to  Boulogne,  where  he  opened  a  room  and  con- 
tinued to  preach.  In  1862  he  accepted  the  Secretary- 
ship of  the  Evangelical  Continental  Society  in  London, 
which  he  held  till  his  death  on  February  8,  1872. 

The  next  pastor,  John  Gwilym  Roberts,  came  from  a 
secluded  village  in  Merionethshire.  Mr.  Roberts  had  been 
educated  at  Bala  and  Airedale  Colleges,  and  accepted 
the  pastorate  of  Merton  in  1856.  Here  he  spent 
some  of  the  happiest  years  of  his  life.  He  soon  attracted 
overflowing  congregations  and  raised  the  church  to  a 
position  of  considerable  influence  and  strength.  To  the 
deep  regret  of  his  people  he  accepted  an  invitation  to 
Berkeley  Street,  Liverpool,  in  i860.  He  subsequently 
held  charges  at  Howden,  Yorks.,  and  Norland  Chapel, 
Shepherd's  Bush,  which  latter  he  resigned  in  1880  to 
accept  a  position  as  Secretary  to  the  Society  for  the 
Protection  of  Women  and  Children.  He  was  seized  with 
paralysis  on  September  30,  1882,  and  died  a  fortnight 

In  1861  the  church  called  Rev.  Robert  Davies  to  the 
vacant  pulpit.  Mr.  Davies  was  born  in  Carnarvon, 
September  9,  1815.  Early  in  life  he  gave  promise  of 
his  future  career,  and  when  quite  young  was  admitted  a 
member  of  the  church  at  Pendref.  His  first  charge 
was  at  Ripley,  Hants  ;  three  years  later  he  removed  to 
Bilston,  where  he  remained  for  twelve  years.     His  voice 

MERTON  255 

failing  him,  he  was  obliged  to  resign  and  take  a  long 
rest.  He  then  accepted  the  invitation  to  Merton.  Dur- 
ing his  ministry  a  large  schoolroom  was  erected  behind 
the  chapel  at  a  cost  of  £400.  This  was  opened  on 
November  8, 1863.  In  1872,  after  a  pastorate  of  twelve 
years,  he  removed  to  Bath,  where  he  did  much  useful 
work.  He  died  in  that  city  on  June  1,  1879.  Dr. 
Raleigh,  writing  of  him  as  a  student,  says,  "  He  was  a 
man  of  the  clearest  honesty,  and  of  the  profoundest 
sincerity  of  character  whom  I  have  ever  known." 

Mr.  Davies  was  followed  by  Rev.  J.  Baxter  Pike,  of 
Crescent  Road  Church,  Plumstead.  He  accepted  the 
pastorate  in  December,  1872,  and  was  recognised  the 
following  April.  During  his  ministry  a  scheme  for 
enlarging  the  church  was  hopefully  initiated ;  but  this 
failed  owing  to  dissension  which  ended  in  the  with- 
drawal of  several  members.  Mr.  Pike  remained  till 
October,  1878,  when  he  retired  from  ill  health. 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  B.  Crowther.  He  came 
to  Merton  in  1879,  and  resigned  in  1894.  We  find  no 
particulars  of  his  ministry  except  a  presentation  on  the 
completion  of  his  tenth  year.  In  1894  the  Rev.  Percy 
Smith  Atkinson  accepted  the  invitation  of  the  church. 
Mr.  Atkinson  was  trained  at  Cheshunt,  and  had  held 
pastorates  at  Driffield,  Kennington  and  Warsash.  He 
remained  until  1904,  preaching  his  farewell  sermon  on 
May  8. 

The  cause  was  now  in  a  very  low  and  feeble  condition. 
The  friends  at  Merton  approached  the  Surrey  Union  and 
asked  that  the  work  might  be  taken  over  and  an  evan- 
gelist appointed;  but  the  Union  was  unable  to  assume 
the  responsibility.  At  this  juncture  the  church  at  Worple 
Road,  Wimbledon,  generously  came  forward,  and 
negotiations  were  opened  with  a  view  to  amalgamating 


the  Merton  church  with  Wimbledon.  The  arrange- 
ments were  satisfactorily  carried  through  and  the 
amalgamation  was  effected  in  January,  1906. 

The  opening  of  the  building  under  the  new  auspices 
took  place  on  Wednesday,  May  16.  The  old  chapel  had 
been  transformed  into  a  modern  mission  hall ;  pews  and 
pulpit  had  given  place  to  chairs  and  a  handsome  rostrum, 
and  in  every  respect  the  building  was  made  suitable  for 
the  new  development  of  the  work.  Mr.  Bernard  Slater 
has  since  been  appointed  superintendent  and  commenced 
his  work  with  every  prospect  of  success. 




On  Wednesday,  February  3,  1819,  four  men  and  five 
women  were  constituted  a  "  Calvinistic  Independent 
Church  "  in  Acre  Lane,  Brixton.  Devotional  services 
were  conducted  by  Revs.  Chas.  Wyatt,  Ingram  Cobbin, 
and  Jas.  Davies,  of  Fareham,  and  a  sermon  was  preached 
by  Rev.  John  Leifchild.  A  fortnight  later  Rev.  Jas. 
Davies  was  called  to  the  pastorate  of  the  newly-formed 
church.  Of  his  ministry  or  its  ending  we  have  no  par- 
ticulars. If  he  was  the  James  Davies  who  afterwards 
ministered  at  Totteridge  and  Haverhill,  his  stay  here 
must  have  been  brief.  The  next  minister  of  whom  we 
find  any  record  is  John  Jack.  He  was  born  in  Scotland 
in  1797,  was  connected  with  the  "  Burgher  "  branch  of 
the  Secession  Church,  and  was  a  missionary  in  Russia 
from  1819  to  1824.     Becoming  a  Congregationalist,  he 


was  invited  to  Brixton,  and  on  July  23,  1826,  was 
"  publicly  inducted  "  to  the  charge  by  Revs.  G.  Clayton, 
Jos.  Fletcher,  Eb.  Henderson,  W.  Orme,  and  Dr. 
Winter.  "  On  some  account  it  was  deemed  expedient 
to  reorganise  the  church,"  which  was  done  in  the  same 
month  ;  a  church  meeting,  consisting  of  six  men — none 
of  them  on  the  original  church  roll — dissolved  the 
church  by  resolution,  and  constituted  a  new  church 
consisting  of  themselves.  In  February,  1834,  Mr.  Jack 
removed  to  Bristol,  and  afterwards  to  Kingsbridge, 
where  he  died  on  December  5,  1863. 

His  successor  at  Brixton  was  Rev.  S.  A.  Dubourg, 
from  Marden,  formerly  at  Pain's  Hill.  In  1835  the 
chapel  was  enlarged.  In  1848  the  lease  expired,  and 
the  congregation  removed  to  a  new  church  in  Park 
Crescent,  Clapham,  which  cost  £2,500,  and  was  opened 
on  July  19,  with  sermons  by  Revs.  Dr.  Leifchild  and 
Jas.  Sherman.  Mr.  Dubourg  laboured  successfully  till 
June,  1851,  when  he  was  stricken  with  paralysis,  and 
died  the  following  year. 

Rev.  Benj.  Price,  a  student  from  New  College,  suc- 
ceeded. Of  his  pastorate  we  have  no  details.  He  left 
in  April,  1858,  and  subsequently  ministered  at  Worth- 
ing, Eltham,  Islington,  and  Canterbury.  He  died  in 
1892.  The  church  is  described  as  being  "  in  a  very  low 
and  depressed  condition  "  when,  on  Mr.  Price's  removal, 
the  charge  was  undertaken  by  Rev.  J.  Nelson,  who  had 
been  thirty-four  years  in  the  Wesleyan  ministry.  He 
reduced  the  debt  on  the  church  building  by  £500.  In 
1864  he  resigned,  and  afterwards  ministered  for  some 
time  at  Croydon. 

After  a  short  interval  Rev.  W.  Gooby  was  invited 
from  Winsham,  Somerset.  He  had  been  formerly  a 
missionary  of  the  Church  of  Scotland  in  Egypt.     He 



only  remained  at  Clapham  about  two  years,  1865—67, 
when  he  removed  to  Staines,  and  afterwards  held  pas- 
torates at  Shepherd's  Bush,  Cuckfield,  and  Winchester. 
From  1867  to  1870  the  church,  still  "  much  depressed," 
enjoyed  the  earnest  and  stirring  ministry  of  Rev. 
Taliesin  Davies,  who  had  already  done  very  successful 
work  at  Wooburn,  Bucks.  His  labours  at  Clapham, 
however,  seem  to  have  been  attended  with  disappoint- 
ment. Much  the  same  is  reported  of  Rev.  H.  Mayo 
Gunn,  formerly  for  twenty-eight  years  the  popular  and 
successful  pastor  of  Warminster,  whose  hymn,  "  Our 
Fathers  were  highminded  men,"  is  not  likely  soon  to 
become  obsolete.  But  all  that  he  was  able  to  effect  at 
Clapham  was  to  clear  the  remaining  debt.  After  three 
years,  1870 — 73,  he  removed  to  Sevenoaks,  and  died 
May  21,  1886. 

Of  the  next  minister,  Rev.  T.  Slocombe,  who  came 
from  North  Petherton,  Somerset,  in  1873,  we  only 
know  that  he  was  a  student  from  the  Bristol  Institute, 
and  removed  to  St.  Albans  in  1876.  The  charge  was 
then  assumed  by  the  Rev.  Thos.  Ray,  LL.D.,  a  son-in- 
law  of  Rev.  S.  A.  Dubourg.  After  ministering  at 
Hatfield  and  Bishop's  Stortford  he  had  been  for  many 
years  a  successful  schoolmaster  in  Peckham.  He 
served  the  church  at  Clapham  from  1876  to  1885,  and 
then  retired. 

Rev.  W.  H.  Edwards  came  from  Bushey  in  1885,  and 
removed  to  River  Street,  Islington,  in  1888.  For  the 
next  two  years  the  pulpit  is  reported  as  "  supplied." 
Then  in  1890  and  1891  it  is  "provisionally"  occupied 
by  Rev.  A,  Wickson,  LL.D.;  again  "supplied"  for 
three  years  longer.  In  1895  and  1896  we  meet  with  the 
name  of  a  Mr.  F.  Thompson,  who  was  not  recognised 
by  the   Union;    again  follows  the  note  "supplied"; 



and  in  1898  the  church  was  disbanded  and  the  building 

Happily  the  history  of  Congregationalism  presents 
few  records  as  depressing  as  that  now  before  us — a 
record  of  strenuous  work  done  by  men  of  high  character 
and  conspicuous  ability,  and  resulting  only  in  failure. 
It  is  well  to  remember  that  endeavour,  not  achieve- 
ment, wins  the  commendation  "  Well  done,  good  and 
faithful  servant." 




Rev.  J.  France,  M.A.,  after  studying  at  Hoxton 
College  and  Glasgow  University,  accepted  a  call  to 
Lancaster  in  1817.  His  pastorate  there  was  brief;  and 
after  an  interval  occupied  with  tuition  in  Yorkshire  he 
came  in  1822  to  Ham,  a  village  about  midway  between 
Richmond  and  Kingston.  Here  he  established  a 
successful  private  school  ;  and,  finding  there  was  a 
lack  of  facilities  for  Nonconformist  worship,  he  con- 
verted part  of  the  school  premises  into  a  chapel.  A 
small  Congregational  Church  was  formed,  to  which 
Mr.  France  ministered  to  the  end  of  his  life,  a  space  of 
nearly  thirty-two  years.  He  died  September  11,  1854, 
aged  sixty-five ;  soon  after  which  the  church  was 

s  2 




The  first  pastor  of  this  church,  for  whom  the  present 
building  was  erected  in  1828,  was  the  Rev.  Leonard 
James  Wake,  a  student  of  Lady  Huntingdon's  College 
at  Cheshunt.  At  first  the  congregation  was  regulated 
by  the  rules  of  Lady  Huntingdon's  connexion,  but 
during  the  ministry  of  Mr.  Wake  the  members  adopted 
the  principles  of  Congregationalism.  In  1837  Mr.  Wake 
was  succeeded  by  the  Rev.  Henry  Heap,  who  had  laid 
the  foundation  stone  of  the  chapel  nine  years  before. 
Mr.  Heap  had  formerly  ministered  in  the  Old  Three 
Cranes  Meeting  House,  Queen  Street,  Cheapside,  and 
in  Dr.  Watts's  old  chapel  in  Bury  Street.  During  his 
pastorate  at  Brixton  a  Sunday  school  was  erected,  and 
much  vigour  generally  infused  into  the  life  of  the 

Mr.  Heap  resigned  the  pulpit  of  Trinity  in  1839  to 
accept  a  charge  at  West  Street  Chapel,  Brighton.  The 
following  year  a  satisfactory  successor  was  found  in 
Mr.  Samuel  Eldridge,  a  student  of  Highbury  College, 
and  on  June  18  he  was  ordained.  Mr.  Eldridge  entered 
upon  his  work  faced  by  a  debt  of  £"2,175,  which,  in 
spite  of  strenuous  efforts,  took  twenty  years  to  clear. 
One  of  the  first  attempts  was  to  address  a  circular  to 
every  dissenting  minister  and  congregation  in  England, 
asking  them  to  contribute  £1  each.  Soon  after  Mr. 
Eldridge  settled  the  Church  of  England  prayers  were 
discontinued,  and  the  communion  thrown  open. 

In  1844  a  British  school  was  established,  which  was 


carried  on  until  the  work  was  taken  over  by  the  School 
Board.  The  following  year  the  affairs  of  the  church, 
which  had  been  managed  by  a  committee,  were  handed 
over  to  a  diaconate,  the  first  deacons  being  Mr.  Thomas 
Eldridge  (father  of  the  pastor),  Mr.  W.  Oliver,  Mr.  J. 
Colins  and  Mr.  Henry  Smith. 

In  1850  the  schoolroom  was  enlarged  to  nearly  double 
its  size,  and  considerable  alterations  and  improvements 
were  made  in  the  chapel.  In  1851  a  room  was  taken 
in  the  Surrey  Road  and  opened  as  a  mission,  and 
another  mission  was  commenced  in  Effra  Parade  in 
1863,  but  this  was  discontinued  three  years  later. 
Further  alterations  and  additions  were  carried  out 
during  the  next  few  years,  three  class-rooms  being  built 
in  1866,  the  old  high  pews  and  pulpit  giving  place  to 
more  modern  seats  and  platform  in  1874.  Altogether 
the  chapel  and  school  enlargements  cost  £1,700,  which 
was  finally  cleared  off  in  1879. 

In  1878  the  church  celebrated  its  jubilee,  and  two 
years  later  even  these  rejoicings  were  eclipsed  by  the 
celebration  of  Mr.  Eldridge's  fortieth  anniversary. 

But  his  labours  were  not  to  continue  much  longer. 
On  Sunday,  March  25,  1882,  while  preaching  in  the 
afternoon,  he  was  seized  with  paralysis,  and  died  the 
following  Friday,  having  "  endeared  himself  to  hundreds, 
by  his  loving  life  and  earnest  efforts  to  promote  the 
welfare,  temporal  and  spiritual  of  those  around  him." 
Some  delay  took  place  in  filling  the  pastorate,  and  it 
was  not  till  late  in  the  next  year  that  Rev.  W.  Herbert 
accepted  the  position.  During  his  pastorate  several 
important  improvements  were  effected,  the  chief  being 
the  re-seating  of  the  whole  of  the  gallery.  The  heavy 
woodwork  in  front  of  the  gallery  was  removed,  and  an 
ornamental    iron    railing   substituted.     Also   an    organ 


chamber  was  built  behind  the  minister's  platform,  and 
a  fine  organ  erected  in  place  of  the  old  one.  In  addi- 
tion, the  freehold  of  the  chapel  was  purchased.  The 
next  few  years  moved  uneventfully  for  the  church,  and 
in  1895  Mr.  Herbert  removed  to  Deddington. 

He  was  succeeded  the  same  year  by  the  Rev.  William 
Henry  Bradford,  who  had  previously  held  pastorates  at 
Leiston  and  Needham  Market.  During  his  ministry 
the  church  acquired  the  present  manse  and  adjoining 
house,  with  a  view  of  erecting  a  new  building  on  the  land 
behind.  This  was  no  easy  task,  but  owing  to  the  great 
generosity  of  Mr.  A.  Messent,  treasurer,  assisted  by 
Mr.  J.  B.  Crabb  (who  has  been  for  forty  years  the 
secretary  of  the  church)  and  other  friends,  the  property 
was  obtained. 

Mr.  Bradford  resigned  in  1901,  and  after  some 
interval  an  invitation  to  accept  the  pastorate  was  sent 
to  the  Rev.  Matthias  Lansdowne,  of  Tolmers  Square. 
Mr.  Lansdowne  had  previously  done  splendid  service 
for  Congregationalism  in  Bournemouth,  where  he 
built  up  one  of  the  strongest  churches  in  the  neighbour- 
hood. His  formal  induction  took  place  February  8, 

Already  his  earnest  and  vigorous  work  has  begun 
to  tell  upon  the  church  ;  the  membership  has  more 
than  doubled,  a  large  number  of  organisations  are  in 
active  operation,  and  the  dream  of  a  new  church  facing 
one  of  the  best  roads  in  Brixton  seems  in  a  fairer  way 
towards  fulfilment. 




This  church  was  first  known  as  Union  Chapel,  Brixton 
Hill.  The  foundation  stone  was  laid  on  May  28,  1829, 
by  Rev.  George  Clayton,  of  Walworth.  The  opening 
services  took  place  on  October  7. 

A  paragraph  in  the  Evangelical  Magazine  of  that  year 
says,  "  This  new  and  important  interest,  in  an  increas- 
ingly populous  and  respectable  neighbourhood,  origin- 
ated in  the  pious  zeal  of  a  few  families  of  various 
denominations,  many  of  whom  are  members  of  the 
Church  of  England.  The  church  is  to  be  formed  on 
Congregational  principles,  and  the  doctrines  evangelical. 
The  pulpit  is  to  be  supplied  for  the  first  twelve  months 
by  ministers  of  the  first  respectability  in  town,  and 
from  the  country." 

In  April,  1832,  Rev.  John  Hunt,  of  Chelmsford, 
accepted  the  pastorate  of  the  church  and  commenced 
his  ministry.  Mr.  Hunt  was  a  native  of  the  old 
cathedral  city  of  Salisbury,  where  his  father  was  a 

He  was  brought  up  an  Anglican,  but  seems  to  have 
attended  the  Congregational  Church  in  that  city,  and 
was  converted  under  the  ministry  of  Rev.  Thomas 
Adams.  An  association  was  formed  to  carry  the 
gospel  into  the  surrounding  villages,  and  Mr.  Hunt 
became  such  an  efficient  member  that  Mr.  Adams 
urged  him  to  devote  himself  entirely  to  the  work  of  the 
ministry.  He  objected  to  do  this  without  suitable 
training,  but  shortly  afterwards  the  Hants  Association 
invited  him  to  preach  on  Sundays  at  Ryde,  and    Dr. 


Bogue  proposed  that  he  should  spend  the  intervening 
days  of  the  week  in  his  training  college  at  Gosport. 
Mr.  Hunt  agreed  to  this,  and  carried  on  the  double 
work  of  preaching  and  preparation  for  four  years.  He 
settled  at  Titchfield  in  1806,  and  removed  to  Chichester 
in  181 1.  In  1822  he  was  invited  to  Chelmsford,  where 
he  remained  till  the  call  came  from  Brixton  Hill. 

Up  to  this  time  no  church  had  been  formed,  but  on 
December  13,  1832,  a  meeting  was  held  for  the  purpose 
of  uniting  those  who  so  desired  in  church  fellowship 
We  are  told  that — 

"  It  was  resolved  that  a  church  should  be  formed  of 
the  Congregational  Order,  admitting  to  full  fellowship 
the  disciples  of  our  common  Lord,  irrespective  of  their 
sentiment  on  the  subject  of  infant  or  adult  baptism ; 
and  to  occasional  communion  at  the  Lord's  Table, 
Christians  of  every  denomination." 

Three  days  later  the  members  of  the  newly  formed 
church,  twenty-four  in  number,  met  and  signed  the 
church  book  and  chose  their  officers.  Mr.  Hunt  was 
formally  recognised  as  pastor,  and  two  deacons  were 

The  church  having  been  constituted  on  the  basis  of 
"  Union,"  the  Liturgy  of  the  Episcopal  Church  was  at 
first  used  at  the  morning  services.  Unfortunately, 
however,  the  record  of  this  period  furnishes  very  scanty 
information.  The  earliest  item  of  interest  is  that  in 
1837  the  Episcopalian  section  of  the  congregation  with- 
drew, and  built  Christ  Church  in  the  Christchurch 
Road.  Three  years  later  the  Baptist  contingent 
followed  the  example  of  their  Anglican  brethren,  and 
formed  a  new  fellowship  which  worships  in  Salem 
Chapel,  New  Park  Road. 

In  1846,  when  Mr.  Hunt  had  been  fourteen  years  in 


the  pastorate,  it  was  decided  to  give  him  an  assistant. 
The  old  minister  had  now  passed  the  threescore  years 
and  ten,  and  the  days  had  come  when  "strength  is 
labour  and  sorrow."  Rev.  George  Burden  Bubier  was 
appointed,  but  only  held  the  post  for  a  short  time. 

Mr.  Bubier  was  a  man  of  high  literary  ability,  which 
secured  for  him  when  a  mere  youth  the  friendship  of 
such  writers  as  Mary  Russell  Mitford  and  Elizabeth 
Barrett,  afterwards  Mrs.  Browning.  He  removed  to 
Cambridge  in  1849,  and  then  to  Hope  Chapel,  Salford, 
where  he  remained  ten  years.  In  1864  he  accepted 
the  chair  of  Theology  and  Philosophy  at  Spring  Hill 
College,  which  he  held  till  his  death,  March  16,  1869. 
In  addition  to  his  other  work,  he  had  for  fifteen  years 
the  management  of  the  literary  department  of  the 
Nonconformist,  and  well  sustained  its  high  reputation. 

On  November  25,  1849,  Mr.  Hunt  completed  the 
fiftieth  year  of  his  ministry,  an  event  which  he  celebrated 
by  a  special  sermon  which  was  afterwards  published 
under  the  title  of  "  The  close  of  ministerial  labour 
contemplated,  occasioned  by  reflections  on  completing 
the  fiftieth  year  of  ministerial  service." 

The  following  May  he  resigned,  having  held  the  pas- 
torate for  nineteen  years.  For  a  few  years  longer  he 
continued  to  reside  in  the  neighbourhood,  rendering 
occasional  service  to  his  ministerial  brethren.  He  was 
taken  ill  on  May  6,  1856,  and  when  told  by  the  doctor 
that  his  time  was  near,  he  replied  calmly,  "  Rather 
hasty,  but  all  is  well." 

It  is  stated  that  during  Mr.  Hunt's  ministry  three 
young  men  were  called  to  the  ministry,  and  nine  sent 
as  missionaries  to  the  heathen  ;  six  Congregational 
churches  were  formed,  and  the  preaching  of  the  Gospel 
established  in  several  towns  previously  destitute. 


Meanwhile,  on  March  22,  1851,  Rev.  John  Hall,  of 
Latimer  Chapel,  Mile  End  Road,  had  been  unanimously 
called  to  the  oversight  of  the  church.  The  most 
important  event  of  this  pastorate  seems  to  have  been 
the  building  of  the  first  Sunday  school  in  1863,  at  a 
cost  of  £1,200.  On  December  11,  1864,  Mr.  Hall 
preached  for  the  last  time  as  pastor.  He  subsequently 
entered  the  ministry  of  the  Established  Church. 

In  May,  1865,  Rev.  D.  Anthony,  B.A.,  of  Frome,  was 
invited  to  take  charge  of  the  church.  Mr.  Anthony 
accepted,  but  a  month  later  withdrew  his  acceptance. 
Mr.  Anthony  had  carefully  read  the  trust  deed  of  the 
church,  a  thing  that  few  ministers  think  it  necessary 
to  do.  In  his  letter  of  withdrawal  he  says  he  found 
it  to  be  of  that  rigid  nature  that  in  its  entireness  he 
could  not  accept  it.  It  may  be  stated  that  the  new 
trust  deed  is  differently  constituted. 

So  the  church  had  again  to  look  out  for  a  minister. 
In  a  few  months — December,  1865 — their  choice  fell  on 
Rev.  Wtn.  Martin,  of  Stockwell  Road,  who  was  invited 
to  occupy  the  pulpit  for  twelve  months,  with  a  view  to 
the  pastorate.  Another  disappointment  was  in  store. 
Mr.  Martin  accepted  the  position,  but  on  January  31, 
1866,  he  wrote  saying  that  his  health  was  not  equal  to 
the  strain,  and  the  low  state  of  the  church  demanded 
the  services  of  a  minister  in  the  fulness  of  his  strength. 
So  he,  too,  withdrew. 

Another  six  months  elapsed  and  then  Rev.  Edwin 
Bolton,  of  Bromley,  Kent,  accepted  an  unanimous  call 
to  the  pastorate,  and  forthwith  began  his  labours.  Mr. 
Bolton  was  a  native  of  Leamington,  where  he  had  com- 
menced Christian  work  as  a  local  preacher,  in  connec- 
tion with  Spencer  Street  Congregational  Church.  In 
1855  he  disposed  of  his  business  and  entered  Hackney 


College.  Bromley  was  his  first  pastorate.  In  1869 
Mr.  Bolton  resigned  the  pastorate  to  accept  a  charge 
at  Preston.  He  afterwards  laboured  at  Weymouth, 
Gravesend,  and  Northfleet,  and  at  last  retired  to 
Selhurst,  near  Croydon,  where  he  died  March  11,  1902. 
In  1870  the  church  decided  to  pulldown  the  then  exist- 
ing buildings,  and  erect  a  new  sanctuary.  This  was  done 
at  a  cost  of  £7,836,  and  on  December  12,  1871,  the  new 
buildings  were  opened.  Revs.  Dr.  Binney,  Dr.  Raleigh, 
J.  Baldwin  Brown,  Robert  Moffatt,  and  others  took 
part  in  the  services.  From  this  time  the  church  was 
known  as  Streatham  Hill  Congregational  Church. 

For  three  years  the  church  had  been  without  a  pastor, 
and  the  important  work  of  building  had  been  carried 
through  without  any  ministerial  oversight. 

In  December,  1872,  the  Rev.  R.  A.  Redford,  of  Hull, 
was  invited  to  become  the  first  minister  of  the  congre- 
gation worshipping  in  the  new  building.  Mr.  Redford  was 
trained  at  Spring  Hill,  and  had  taken  the  M.A.  and  LL.B. 
degrees  at  London  University.  His  first  charge  was  at 
St.  James's,  Newcastle-on-Tyne.  In  1854  he  removed  to 
Albion  Chapel,  Hull,  where  he  ministered  for  nearly 
twenty  years. 

He  has  contributed  a  valuable  book  to  Christian 
Apologetics,  entitled  "The  Christian's  Plea  against 
Modern  Unbelief."  Mr.  Redford  accepted  the  invita- 
tion to  Streatham  Hill,  and  held  the  pastorate  till 
April  7,  1876,  when  he  removed  to  Putney. 

Another  long  interval  elapsed  before  a  successor  was 
appointed;  but  in  July,  1877,  Rev.  J.  P.  Gledstone, 
formerly  of  Queen  Street,  Sheffield,  and  Park  Chapel, 
Crouch  End,  accepted  the  charge  and  commenced  his 
ministry  on  the  first  Sunday  in  October. 

In   1878  it  was  decided  to  complete  the  church  by 


erecting  a  new  Lecture  Hall  and  Sunday  School.  The 
foundation  stone  was  laid  on  December  12  by  Mr. 
James  Spicer,  and  the  buildings  were  opened  the  follow- 
ing June.  The  total  cost  was  £3,700.  The  hall,  which 
is  surrounded  by  ten  class-rooms,  provides  accommoda- 
tion for  600  children. 

After  nearly  twenty-four  years  of  faithful  service  Mr. 
Gledstone  resigned  his  charge  January  16,  1901.  He 
afterwards  became  pastor  of  Abbeydale  Church,  Shef- 
field, which  he  had  initiated  above  thirty  years  before. 
He  will  be  long  remembered  for  his  strenuous  efforts  in 
the  cause  of  national  righteousness  and  public  morality, 
and  also  as  the  author  of  an  admirable  Life  of  George 
Whitefield.     He  died  February  15,  1907. 

On  December  10,  1902,  Rev.  John  Barlow,  of  Clifton, 
was  elected  to  the  pastoral  office,  and  began  his  ministry 
January  18,  1903.  His  recognition  took  place  the 
following  April;  and  his  earnest  and  able  ministry  is 
building  up  a  strong  church. 



Of  all  the  suburbs  of  London,  not  one  is  more  beauti- 
fully situated  than  Richmond.  Built  on  the  side  of  a 
hill,  with  a  wonderful  view  across  the  valley  of  the 
Thames,  with  its  noble  park  above  and  the  river  below, 
with  its  quaint  streets  and  ancient  houses,  one  cannot 
wonder  that  for  centuries  it  was  the  residence  of  kings, 
and  to-day  is  a  favourite  resort  of  the  people. 

No  spot  around  London  is  richer  in  historic  interest. 
Here  Edward  III.  closed  his  long  and  brilliant  reign, 


Here  Henry  VII.  built  his  palace  and  died.  Here,  in 
a  room  of  the  old  palace  overlooking  the  green,  Queen 
Elizabeth  passed  into  the  unseen,  while  beneath  her 
window  the  messenger  waited,  booted  and  spurred, 
ready  for  the  signal  on  which  he  was  to  speed  on  his 
long  ride  to  Scotland  to  bear  the  news  to  King  James. 

To  trace  the  early  history  of  Nonconformity  in  this 
famous  town  is  no  easy  task.  The  present  church  is 
but  seventy-six  years  old,  but  it  is  certain  that  a  Non- 
conformist cause  existed  at  a  much  earlier  date.  In  a 
historical  sketch  published  in  the  Vineyard  Manual  for 
1900,  we  read:  "  It  should  be  noted  that  another  body 
of  Independents  existed  in  Richmond  long  before  this, 
dating  back,  indeed,  to  the  earliest  days  of  Nonconfor- 
mity. In  the  Kew  Foot  Road,  just  in  the  rear  of  the 
structure  used  by  the  Salvation  Army,  is  a  house  which 
still  bears  the  name  of  '  Chapel  House,'  and  here  wor- 
shipped a  little  band  of  good  men  and  true,  through 
whom  we  may  trace  our  ancestry  to  the  year  1662." 

Unfortunately  we  have  not  been  able  to  find  any 
record  of  this  earlier  body.  Richmond  does  not  appear 
among  the  list  of  conventicles  in  Surrey,  prepared  for 
Sheldon  in  1669;  neither  is  there  any  record  of  a 
license  obtained  for  preaching  under  the  indulgence  of 
1672.  This,  however,  is  no  proof  that  a  "gathered 
church "  did  not  exist,  as  similar  corroboration  is 
wanting  in  the  case  of  other  churches  which  are  known 
to  have  been  in  existence  at  that  time. 

Richmond,  however,  does  appear  in  a  return  of 
Nonconformist  churches  made  in  1715,  with  Thomas 
Flood  as  minister,  but  it  is  given  as  a  Baptist  Church. 
In  a  later  list,  compiled  in  1772,  it  is  not  found. 

In  1830  the  attention  of  Mr.  Thomas  Wilson  was 
called  to  "  the  populous  village  of  Richmond"  as  not 


having  any  regular  independent  congregation.  He 
purchased  a  freehold  site  for  £500,  and  built  at  his  own 
expense  a  very  commodious  chapel,  which  cost  £"2,000. 

Brayley's  "  History  of  Surrey,"  which  usually  dis- 
misses Nonconformist  churches  in  a  single  line,  gives 
quite  a  long  description  of  the  building.  It  was 
opened  for  public  worship  on  July  21,  1831,  and  the 
following  December  a  church  was  formed  consisting  of 
nine  members. 

A  few  months  after  the  church  was  founded  the 
congregation  in  Kew  Foot  Road,  referred  to  above, 
came  bodily  and  expressed  their  desire  to  be  united 
with  the  new  cause.  This  brought  a  considerable 
addition  of  strength  that  must  have  been  exceedingly 

For  some  years  the  church  took  no  steps  to  find  a 
pastor.  The  pulpit  was  supplied  by  various  ministers, 
John  Stoughton,  Thomas  Binney,  and  Robert  Ashton 
being  amongst  the  earliest  preachers. 

In  1835  it  was  felt  that  the  time  had  come  for  a 
settled  ministry.  Mr.  Ashton  recommended  Mr. 
Henry  Beresford  Martin,  who  had  been  a  member  of 
his  own  church  at  Warminster.  Mr.  Martin  accepted 
the  invitation  and  was  ordained  in  1835.  For  nine 
years  he  ministered  to  the  church  with  devotion  and 
energy,  but  toward  the  end  of  his  pastorate  he  became 
quite  an  invalid,  and  death  soon  after  closed  his  first 
and  last  charge. 

Evan  Davies  was  the  next  pastor.  He  was  born  in 
1805,  at  Hengwm,  in  Cardiganshire,  but  removed  to 
London  when  quite  a  lad.  He  joined  the  church  at 
Little  Guildford  Street,  Southwark,  under  the  Rev.  D.  S. 
Davies,  whose  ministry  led  to  his  conversion.  He 
decided  to  enter  the  ministry,  and  was  admitted  to  the 


Western  College,  then  at  Exeter.  After  a  short 
pastorate  at  Great  Torrington,  he  was  accepted  for 
mission  work,  and  laboured  at  Demerara,  and  in  China. 
In  consequence  of  ill  health  he  returned  to  England, 
and  was  appointed  superintendent  of  the  Boys'  Mission 
School,  at  Walthamstow. 

In  1844  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Richmond, 
where  he  remained  nearly  thirteen  years.  During  Mr. 
Davies'  pastorate,  in  August,  1851,  the  church  was 
partly  destroyed  by  a  fire,  which  broke  out  in  a  baker's 
shop  at  the  corner  of  Hill  Rise.  Unfortunately  the 
building  was  only  insured  to  half  the  original  cost. 
An  appeal  was  made  for  help,  Mr.  William  Hankey 
leading  the  way  with  £50.  At  the  same  time  that  the 
church  was  restored  the  present  schoolroom  was  con- 
structed though  not  completed. 

Mr.  Davies  is  spoken  of  as  a  man  of  warm  heart,  and 
unworldly  to  his  own  hurt.  His  diffidence  deterred  him 
from  many  things  he  had  the  ability  to  do.  He  must 
have  had,  however,  much  of  the  affection  of  his  people, 
for  on  his  resignation  he  was  presented  with  a  purse  of 
200  guineas.  He  resigned  the  pastorate  in  1857,  and 
afterwards  laboured  at  Heywood  in  Lancashire,  and 
Hackney,  and  died  at  Hornsey  in  1864. 

James  Branwhite  French  succeeded  him.  Mr.  French 
was  born  at  Hackney  in  1826.  Aroused  by  a  sermon 
of  Mr.  Sherman's  at  Surrey  Chapel  he  determined  to 
devote  himself  to  the  ministry,  and  entered  Cheshunt 
College.  Before  coming  to  Richmond  he  had  held 
charges  at  Lister  Hills  (Bradford)  and  Margate.  During 
his  ministry  "  Popular  Services  "  were  held  every  two 
months,  and  other  attempts  were  made  by  utilising 
passing  events  to  reach  the  people. 

Partly  through  the  influence  of  Earl  Russell,  a  British 


school  was  commenced  in  the  rooms  under  the  Lecture 
Hall,  and  the  present  schoolroom  was  floored  and 
completed  to  meet  its  growing  needs.  Subsequently 
the  school  removed  to  the  premises  they  now  occupy. 
It  is  interesting  to  note  that  Mr.  Vernon  J.  Charles- 
worth,  so  well  known  in  connection  with  Mr.  Spurgeon*s 
orphanage,  was  one  of  the  earliest  and  most  successful 

During  his  ministry  at  Richmond  Mr.  French  married 
the  granddaughter  of  Mr.  Thomas  Wilson,  whose 
generosity  had  built  the  chapel. 

Mr.  French  resigned  his  pastorate  in  December,  1863. 
His  after  career  was  one  of  considerable  change  though 
great  usefulness.  He  originated  the  church  at  Hamp- 
stead,  where  Dr.  Horton  so  successfully  labours.  Later 
in  life  he  accepted  an  incumbency  in  the  Established 
Church  at  High  Wycombe.  An  attack  of  heart  disease 
leading  to  his  retirement,  he  resided  at  Kensington  and' 
Hackney,  where  he  filled  his  time  with  literary  labours. 
His  last  work  was  to  take  charge  of  a  small  church  at 
Summertown,  a  growing  suburb  of  Oxford ;  but  before 
a  new  building  could  be  completed  he  was  found  dead 
in  his  bed,  February  23,  1892. 

In  March,  1864,  Rev.  George  S.  Ingram  accepted  the 
vacant  post.  Mr.  Ingram  had  been  educated  in  the 
University  of  Glasgow,  and  the  Theological  Hall  of  the 
Scotch  Congregationalists  under  Dr.  Ralph  Wardlaw. 
He  had  held  two  charges  in  Glasgow,  but  the  health  of 
his  family  sent  him  south  to  Twickenham. 

The  invitation  to  Richmond  was  very  hearty,  and 
was  the  commencement  of  a  long  and  happy  union, 
during  which  he  brought  the  church  to  a  high  state  of 
efficiency  and  influence 

Mr.  Ingram  was  greatly  respected  in  the  town.     He 


took  a  keen  and  active  interest  in  its  life.  He  was  one 
of  the  founders  and  supporters  of  the  Richmond 
Athenaeum,  and  was  greatly  interested  in  the  Free 
Library.  He  was  an  ardent  reformer,  and,  though  he 
loved  peace,  a  keen  controversialist.  His  pen  and  his 
voice  were  ever  emphatically  on  the  side  of  progress. 

In  1871  the  church  building  was  enlarged  and 
generally  renovated,  being  considerably  extended  in 
length.  Ten  years  later  the  church  celebrated  its 
jubilee,  and  erected  a  new  organ  as  a  memorial  of  the 
event.  Mr.  Ingram  resigned  the  pastorate  in  1888,  and 
retired  to  live  with  one  of  his  sons  at  Clapham. 

In  October  of  the  same  year  Rev.  Palmer  Grenville, 
B.A.,  LL.B.,  commenced  his  ministry.  Mr.  Grenville 
had  held  pastorates  in  Glasgow  and  Stroud.  He 
retained  the  charge  of  the  church  till  1890,  and  subse- 
quently accepted  an  invitation  to  Haslemere,  but 
returned  to  Richmond  in  1895,  where  he  still  resides 
and  effectively  serves  the  churches  as  secretary  of  the 
Free  Church  Council. 

On  Mr.  Grenville's  resignation  the  choice  of  the 
church  fell  upon  Mr.  Percy  Martin,  B.A.,  a  promising 
young  student  of  Hackney  College.  Mr.  Martin  com- 
menced his  work  at  Richmond  on  New  Year's  Sunday, 
1891,  and  was  ordained  on  March  20.  During  his 
pastorate  the  work  extended  in  all  directions  and  grew 
not  only  in  extent  but  in  activity  and  efficiency.  The 
buildings  were  renovated  throughout,  the  electric 
light  installed,  and  a  "  Pleasant  Sunday  Afternoon 
Brotherhood "  was  started,  which  soon  became  a 
strong  society  with  many  well  organised  and  useful 

Mr.  Martin  brought  his  successful  ministry  to  a  close 
in  1900.     He  accepted  an  invitation  to  the  newly  formed 



church  at  Muswell  Hill,  where  he  still  labours,  and  is 
building  up  a  vigorous  cause. 

At  a  church  meeting  held  on  Thursday  evening, 
November  i,  1900,  it  was  decided  to  send  a  hearty 
invitation  to  Rev.  Archibald  Johnstone. 

Mr.  Johnstone  was  trained  at  Spring  Hill  College, 
Birmingham.  His  first  pastorate  was  in  Tewkesbury, 
where  he  laboured  for  five  years.  In  1888  he  accepted 
an  invitation  to  Sion  Church,  Halifax,  where  he 
remained  until  called  to  Richmond. 

Mr.  Johnstone  began  his  work  with  the  new  century, 
on  January  1,  1901.  Under  his  care  the  high  traditions 
of  the  past  are  worthily  maintained. 



In  a  list  of  London  churches,  published  in  1827,  we 
find  sixteen  enumerated  as  "  Calvinistic  Methodists 
and  other  partial  Conformists."  Several  of  these  were 
private  property,  amongst  which  was  one  called 
Vauxhall  Chapel,  owned  and  served  by  a  Rev.  F. 
Moore.  In  1832  this  gentleman,  disregarding  the 
remonstrances  of  the  congregation,  let  the  building  to 
a  clergyman  of  the  Established  Church  ;  and  thirty  of 
the  communicants,  "  unwilling  to  be  transferred  with 
the  property,"  met  on  July  23,  constituted  themselves 
a  Congregational  Church,  and  issued  an  appeal  for 
help.  A  week  later  Messrs.  Benj.  Baines  and  P.  W. 
Wade  were  chosen  deacons.  A  site  was  secured,  and 
on  Easter  Monday,  April  8,  1833,  the  foundation  of  a 


chapel  was  laid,  which  was  opened  on  January  2, 
1834,  by  Revs.  Dr.  Collyer,  Dr.  Morrison,  and  J. 
Clayton,   M.A. 

The  first  pastor,  Rev.  E.  Cherry,  was  chosen  on 
January  1,  1835,  but  left  abruptly  at  the  end  of  two 
years.  In  July,  1838,  Rev.  Jas.  Mirams,  formerly  a 
missionary  in  Berbice,  was  called  to  the  pastorate. 
The  church  prospered  under  his  ministry,  Sunday  and 
day  schools  were  organised,  various  benevolent  societies 
constituted,  and  the  debt  greatly  reduced.  After  nine 
years  Mr.  Mirams  removed  to  Australia,  leaving  grateful 
and   affectionate   memories   in    the   church   at    Esher 


He  was  succeeded  in  October,  1847,  by  Rev.  W. 
Leask,  from  Dover.  His  ministry  is  described  as 
"  instructive  and  earnest."  He  was  much  devoted  to 
those  millennarian  speculations  which  were  popular  in 
the  middle  of  the  last  century,  and  which  he  (later) 
sought  to  promulgate  in  a  periodical  called  the  Rainbow. 
In  August,  1856,  he  removed  to  Ware.  He  was  the 
author  of  numerous  works  in  prose  and  verse,  which 
had  a  considerable  vogue  in  their  day,  and  the  merit  of 
which  was  recognised  by  a  diploma  of  D.D.  from  one 
of  the  American  Universities.  He  died  in  1884,  aged 

To  Dr.  Leask  succeeded  Rev.  Job  Marchant,  who 
for  nine  years  had  ministered  at  Barkway,  Herts.  His 
pastorate  of  twenty-six  years  was  abundantly  fruitful ; 
but  before  its  close  the  social  changes  which  pass  in 
turn  over  every  such  neighbourhood  began  to  be 
injuriously  felt.  For  several  years  Mr.  Marchant 
preached  regularly  on  Sunday  afternoons  at  Union 
Chapel,  Islington.  From  1875  he  was  secretary  to  the 
"  Apprenticeship  Society,"  and  from  1878  Chaplain  at 

T  2 


the  Tooting  Cemetery.  He  resigned  his  pastorate  in 
1883,  and  died  December  16, 1893,  in  his  seventy-eighth 

In  1885  a  Mr.  McGaffin  occupied  the  pulpit.  Of 
him  we  have  no  further  information.  In  1886  Rev. 
P.  S.  Atkinson,  from  Driffield,  Yorks.,  accepted  the 
pastorate,  but  removed  in  1889  to  Warsash,  Hants.  In 
1890  a  Mr.  C.  J.  Lidstone  is  named,  who,  however,  was 
not  recognised  by  the  Surrey  Union.  For  the  next  two 
years  the  church  is  reported  as  "  supplied."  Then,  in 
1893,  it  was  taken  in  charge  by  W.  S.  Caine,  Esq., 
M.P.  ;  and  in  1896  the  chapel  was  acquired  by  the  Brix- 
ton Congregational  Church.  Having  been  thoroughly 
renovated  and  adapted  for  new  forms  of  service,  it  has 
again  become  a  hive  of  spiritual  and  beneficent  activities 
under  the  name  of  "The  Moffat  Institute." 




Claylands  Chapel  was  built  for  the  Rev.  John  Styles, 
D.D.,  a  well-known  divine  of  the  early  part  of  the  last 
century.  According  to  a  note  in  the  Evangelical  Magazine 
the  erection  had  its  origin  in  the  compulsory  secession 
from  Holland  Chapel,  North  Brixton  (now  Christ 
Church,  Kennington),  of  Dr.  Styles,  and  the  dissenting 
part  of  his  congregation. 

Dr.  Styles  commenced  his  ministry  at  a  comparatively 
early  age,  at  West  Cowes  in  the  Isle  of  Wight ;  from 
that  place  he  removed  to  Brighton,  and  later  to   North 


Brixton,  where,  at  no  small  pecuniary  sacrifice,  he  erected 
Holland  Chapel.  Here  he  preached  for  some  years 
with  singular  ability  and  acceptance. 

In  1835  it  became  necessary  to  sell  the  chapel  in 
order  to  meet  the  demands  of  the  mortgagees.  But 
the  friends  of  Dr.  Styles,  anxious  to  retain  his  ministry, 
formed  themselves  into  a  Congregational  Church,  and 
proceeded  to  erect  Claylands  Chapel. 

Dr.  Styles  himself  laid  the  foundation  stone  on 
January  1,  1836  ;  the  building  was  opened  on  June  29 
of  the  same  year,  when  Rev.  T.  Binney,  J.  Hunt,  and 
John  Campbell  took  part  in  the  services. 

Here  Dr.  Styles  laboured  till  1844,  when  he  removed 
to  Foleshill,  near  Coventry,  to  minister  to  the  church 
there  till  his  death.  His  last  days  were  actually  spent 
within  sight  of  Claylands,  and  he  died  at  No.  8,  Clapham 
Road  Place,  on  Friday,  June  22,  1849. 

He  obtained  a  reputation  not  only  as  a  preacher,  but 
as  a  powerful  and  voluminous  writer.  Amongst  his 
works  were  "  A  Dictionary  of  the  Denominations  of 
Christendom,"  a  book  of  over  500  pages  of  ecclesiastical 
learning,  and  "The  Life  of  David  Brainerd."  He  also 
wrote  an  Essay  on  the  Prevention  of  Cruelty  to  Animals, 
which  won  for  him  a  prize  of  £100. 

For  some  time  after  Dr.  Styles's  removal  Claylands 
Chapel  was  in  a  very  unsettled  condition.  Indeed,  it 
would  have  met  the  same  fate  as  Holland  Chapel,  and 
been  sold  to  meet  the  mortgage,  had  not  the  Metro- 
politan Chapel  Fund  Association  purchased  it,  mainly 
through  the  influence  of  Rev.  John  Hunt,  of  Brixton 
Hill.  Alter  the  purchase  the  chapel  was  renovated  and 
galleries  erected,  thus  increasing  the  number  of  sittings 
from  345  to  615.     It  was  reopened  August  21,  1845. 

At  a  meeting  held  on  September   10,  1846,  twelve 


persons  constituted  themselves  a  Christian  Church. 
Amongst  them  were  John  Doulton,  the  founder  of  the 
great  pottery  firm  at  Lambeth,  W.  Bourne,  and  Henry 
Ridley  Ellington.  Rev.  Dr.  Henderson  presided,  and 
after  the  church  was  formed,  the  little  company  of 
believers  proceeded  to  elect  James  Baldwin  Brown,  of 
Derby,  as  their  pastor,  and  Messrs.  Doulton  and  Elling- 
ton as  deacons.  Then  the  meeting  adjourned  to  Sep- 
tember 30,  when  eight  new  members  were  admitted 
and  ten  more  proposed.  Few  men  have  left  a  deeper 
impress  upon  their  generation  than  Baldwin  Brown, 
and  his  work  demands  more  than  a  passing  notice. 

He  was  born  at  10,  Harcourt  Buildings,  in  the  Inner 
Temple,  on  August  19,  1820.  His  father  was  an 
eminent  barrister,  a  staunch  Nonconformist,  a  man  of 
great  power  of  mind  and  no  mean  literary  gifts.  His 
mother  was  the  only  sister  of  the  well-known  Dr.  Raffles, 
of  Liverpool.  Young  Brown  was  sent  to  University 
College,  Gower  Street,  and  in  1839,  when  hardly  nine- 
teen, took  one  of  the  first  degrees  from  the  newly  formed 
London  University.  He  entered  the  Temple  to  study 
law,  but  the  gospel  had  a  stronger  attraction  for  him  ; 
and  the  preaching  and  influence  of  Dr.  Leifchild,  in 
whose  family  he  was  a  welcome  visitor,  decided  him  for 
the  ministry.  After  considerable  opposition  from  his 
father,  he  entered  Highbury  College,  where  he  remained 
till  1844. 

His  first  charge  was  at  London  Road,  Derby,  where 
he  became  minister  of  a  new  church,  and  gained  popu- 
larity as  a  preacher.  Whilst  here  he  married  Dr.  Leif- 
child's  niece,  to  whom  he  had  been  engaged  since  his 
early  college  days.  Here,  too,  he  commenced  the  long 
series  of  publications  so  well  known  in  connection  with 
his  name. 


In  his  new  sphere  at  Claylands,  Mr.  Brown  quickly 
gathered  about  him  a  congregation  embracing  many 
men  of  intelligence  and  culture,  who  occupied  important 
positions  in  various  walks  of  life. 

But  it  was  not  long  before  his  advanced  and  liberal 
views  in  theology  brought  him  into  conflict  with  the 
narrower  section  of  the  Christian  community.  In  Derby 
he  had  come  into  collision  with  what  one  writer  terms 
"the  outworn  Calvinism  of  the  place  and  time,"  but 
the  publication  in  1859  of  his  first  volume,  "  The  Divine 
Life  in  Man,"  brought  down  upon  him  a  fierce  and  long 
continued  attack.  The  central  point  of  his  teaching 
was  "  the  essential  Fatherhood  of  God  as  revealed  in 
the  Incarnation." 

It  seems  strange  to  us  to-day  that  the  presentation 
of  a  doctrine  now  so  widely  accepted,  and  so  generally 
regarded  as  one  of  the  exquisitely  tender  truths  of  the 
Christian  faith,  could  ever  have  excited  such  bitter  attack. 
But  it  did,  and  had  Mr.  Brown  been  a  man  of  weaker 
fibre,  he  might  have  been  driven  from  the  ministry. 
As  it  was  it  thrust  him  into  a  painful  isolation  that  left 
a  deep  influence  upon  his  character.  But  it  did  not 
hinder  his  proclaiming  what  he  believed  to  be  the 
most  precious  truths  of  his  religion,  and  book  followed 
book,  that  found  a  large  constituency  of  readers, 
especially  amongst  the  younger  men  of  his  own  and 
other  denominations. 

His  work  amongst  the  larger  congregation  thus 
reached  by  his  pen,  did  not  lessen  his  interest  in  the 
ministry  at  Claylands.  He  was  proud  of  his  position 
as  an  Independent  minister  ;  and  in  one  of  his  lectures 
entitled  "  The  Young  Ministry  in  Relation  to  the  Age," 
he  defines  the  position  such  a  minister  should  hold  to 
his  people. 


"An  Independent  minister,"  he  said,  "  may  stand  in 
the  very  highest  relation  to  his  people,  or  the  very 
lowest ;  he  may  either  rule  them  by  truth,  or  be  ruled 
by  their  caprice.  .  .  .  Independency  in  contrast  with 
other  church  systems  seems  to  be  the  assertion  that 
in  man's  spiritual  relations  nothing  can  rule  him  but 
the  truth  of  God,  and  that  nothing  else  has  a 
commission  to  attempt  it." 

Mr.  Brown  could  never  be  induced  to  sever  the  tie 
between  himself  and  his  people.  In  1858  he  was 
invited  to  become  co-pastor  with  his  uncle,  Dr.  Raffles, 
at  Liverpool,  but  declined.  Four  years  later  extensive 
alterations  were  made  in  the  chapel,  which  was 
reopened  on  June  22,  1862. 

But  it  became  necessary  a  few  years  later  to  sever 
his  connection  with  the  building.  After  twenty-five 
years'  ministry  at  Claylands  it  was  decided,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  rapid  migration  of  people  to  the  suburbs, 
to  build  a  new  church  on  a  more  accessible  site  in 
Brixton.  Mr.  Brown  would  only  consent  on  condition 
that  the  work  at  Claylands  was  carried  on.  In  1871 
the  new  building  was  opened,  and  as  pastor  of  that 
church  we  must  continue  the  story  of  his  ministry. 

On  Sunday,  August  14, 1870,  before  the  congregation 
moved  to  Brixton,  Rev.  John  Foster  was  the  preacher 
at  Claylands.  He  gives  an  interesting  picture  of  a 
distressingly  small  congregation,  who,  anticipating  a 
speedy  flitting  to  the  glories  of  Brixton  Road,  had  not 
troubled  themselves  much  as  to  the  appearance  of  their 
temple,  with  its  high  pews,  drab  painted  doors,  and 
dim  gas  lamps  rising  from  the  tops  of  the  seats.  Some 
months  later  Mr.  Foster  received  an  invitation  to  the 
pastorate,  and  commenced  his  labours  on  February  5, 


Mr.  Foster  was  a  Londoner,  born  at  Clapton  Place, 
Hackney,  March  i,  1830.  Not  till  he  was  thirty-two 
years  of  age  did  he  decide  to  give  up  a  commercial 
career  for  the  ministry.  At  that  time  he  had  been 
chosen  out  of  five  or  six  hundred  applicants  for  an 
important  position  in  the  north  of  England.  While 
considering  this  matter  a  call  came  from  a  little  Bap- 
tist church  at  Rayleigh.  He  chose  to  become  a  minister, 
to  his  great  pecuniary  disadvantage;  and  for  three 
years  laboured  in  the  little  Essex  village.  In  1865  he 
succeeded  John  Curwen  at  Plaistow,  and  five  years 
later  was  invited  to  follow  Baldwin  Brown  at  Clay- 
lands.  A  great  part  of  the  congregation  had  gone 
with  the  minister  to  Brixton,  but  some  still  remained 
at  the  old  chapel,  amongst  others  the  venerable  John 
Doulton,  Dr.  Townly,  and  Mr.  Skeen,  who  was  engaged 
upon  the  Standard.  Claylands  seems  to  have  had  a 
good  many  literary  men  amongst  her  members ;  Mr. 
Lucy,  the  editor  of  the  Daily  News,  was  at  one  time 
connected  with  this  church. 

Mr.  Foster's  first  work  was  to  clear  away  the  old 
high-back  pews,  and  renovate  the  church  at  a  cost  of 
£1,100.  The  reopening  services  took  place  on  Sep- 
tember 17,  1871. 

The  continued  exodus  to  the  suburbs  rendered  the 
work  increasingly  difficult,  and  the  death  of  Mr.  John 
Doulton  deprived  the  church  of  a  staunch  and  generous 
supporter.  But  Mr.  Foster  laboured  on  for  nearly 
seventeen  years,  drawing  many  of  his  congregation 
from  remote  districts.  He  was  a  man  of  great  origi- 
nality and  humour  and  attracted  men  of  high  intellectual 
powers  by  his  literary  style.  He  was  an  enthusiastic 
abstainer,  and  a  great  supporter  of  the  temperance 
movement  by  his  voice  and  pen. 


In  1887  he  went  to  St.  Leonards-on-Sea,  where  he 
remained  three  years ;  living  afterwards  in  retirement. 
During  his  last  years  he  suffered  from  heart  disease  and 
paralysis ;  and  was  called  to  his  rest  September  23, 
1898,  at  the  age  of  sixty-eight. 

The  next  minister  was  Rev.  Henry  Hewett,  a  student 
of  New  College. 

He  commenced  his  ministry  on  the  first  Sunday  in 
July,  1888.  For  the  rest  of  that  year  he  preached 
about  half  the  Sundays,  and  took  up  the  full  duties 
with  the  first  Sabbath  of  1889. 

The  following  year  the  chapel  was  renovated  at  a 
cost  of  £yo ;  and  directly  afterwards  the  church  was 
offered  the  freehold  for  £450.  This  was  speedily 
raised,  and  on  November  4,  1891,  a  thanksgiving 
service  celebrated  the  church's  entire  possession  of  the 
property.  No  sooner  was  this  accomplished  than  the 
people  took  in  hand  the  renovation  of  the  organ  and 
other  work,  at  a  cost  of  £285.  A  still  larger  scheme 
followed  in  igoo,  when  the  schools  were  rebuilt,  and 
the  chapel  redecorated.  The  expense  of  this  under- 
taking was  £2,550.  At  the  same  time  Mr.  James 
Crump,  one  of  the  deacons,  generously  gave  new  stained- 
glass  windows  to  the  chapel. 

Mr.  Hewett  spent  fourteen  years  of  happy  and  useful 
service  at  Claylands,  during  which  time  many  societies 
were  organised,  and  the  membership  increased  from  71 
to  235. 

In  1903  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Pevensey  Road, 
Eastbourne,  where  he  still  labours. 

That  same  year  the  church  called  Rev.  Herbert 
Eastmond  Heywood  to  fill  the  vacant  pulpit.  Mr. 
Heywood  was  also  trained  at  New  College,  and  for 
three  years  had  been  assistant  minister  at  Cliftonville, 


Hove,  Brighton.  Already  many  signs  of  the  divine 
blessing  have  followed  his  ministry.  The  church  is 
doing  a  good  "  institutional  "  work  in  addition  to  its 
higher  ministry ;  and  although  losing  many  of  the  sub- 
stantial people  through  the  continued  migration  out- 
wards, it  is  in  a  thoroughly  healthy  condition  ;  the 
work  amongst  the  young  people  is  of  a  particularly 
encouraging  nature. 

Mr.  Hey  wood  has  just  accepted  an  invitation  to 
Ventnor,  Isle  of  Wight. 




A  school  and  preaching  station  were  opened  in 
Captain's  Walk,  Vine  Street,  in  1835.  The  attention 
of  the  Metropolitan  Chapel  Fund  Association  was 
called  to  the  spiritual  destitution  of  the  neighbour- 
hood, and  it  was  decided  to  build  a  chapel  and  school- 
room near  by,  in  York  Road.  The  foundation  was 
laid  by  Rev.  Thos.  Morell,  on  June  6,  1838,  and  the 
chapel  was  opened  on  January  17,   1839.      The  cost 

was  £3,456- 

On  February  20  of  the  same  year  a  Congregational 
Church  was  formed  under  the  direction  of  Revs. 
J.  Sherman,  of  Surrey  Chapel,  and  Geo.  Clayton,  of 
Walworth.  The  first  settled  minister  was  Rev.  R. 
Alliott,  LL.D.,  who  commenced  his  highly  successful 
pastorate  on  April  7,  1843,  and  continued  till  June  10, 
1849.  He  subsequently  held  professional  appoint- 
ments in  Western,  Cheshunt,  and  Spring  Hill  Colleges. 
He     published     the     "  Congregational    Lecture"    on 


Psychology  and  Theology  in  1854  ;  was  chairman  of  the 
Congregational  Union  in  1858-9 ;  and  died  December 
10,  1863. 

His  successor  at  York  Road  was  Rev.  Thos.  Davies, 
from  Maidenhead.  His  pastorate  commenced  January 
6,  1850,  and  ended  December  31,  1854.  During  a 
portion  of  this  time  he  was  secretary  of  the  Chapel 
Building  Society.  He  afterwards  held  pastorates  at 
Preston  and  Darwen,  in  Lancashire,  with  the  latter  of 
which  places  his  name  is  more  familiarly  associated. 
He  died  May  6,  1892,  in  the  seventy-sixth  year  of  his 
age  and  forty-seventh  of  his  ministry. 

Next  followed  Rev.  R.  Robinson.  After  a  course  of 
study  at  Highbury  College  he  had  held  pastorates  at 
Chatteris  and  Luton,  and  commenced  his  ministry  at 
York  Road  on  May  20,  1855.  In  his  time  the  church 
enjoyed  great  prosperity.  The  debt  was  liquidated  by 
the  munificence  of  Joshua  Field,  Esq.,  and  other 
friends.  The  scholars  from  Vine  Street  were  removed 
to  York  Road;  and  by  the  close  of  Mr.  Robinson's 
pastorate  it  was  reported  that,  since  the  foundation  of 
the  school,  no  less  than  400  young  people  had  joined 
the  church.  Mr.  Robinson  resigned  at  the  end  of  1865, 
to  become  Home  Secretary  of  the  London  Missionary 
Society,  in  which  capacity  he  rendered  valuable  service 
for  twenty  years.     He  died  January  10,  1887. 

Rev.  Robert  Berry  entered  on  the  pastorate  on 
April  8,  1866.  During  the  preceding  nine  years  he  had 
ministered  in  Lancashire,  first  at  Hindley  and  then  at 
Whitworth.  After  eight  years  at  York  Road  he 
accepted  a  call  to  Luton,  and  thence  in  1880  to  Upper 
Street,  Islington,  where  his  greatest  work  was  done. 
That  church,  founded  by  Evan  J.  Jones  about  the 
beginning    of   the    century,    had,  through    a    train    of 


deplorable  circumstances,  become  almost  extinct. 
Under  Mr.  Berry's  wise  and  energetic  ministry  it 
revived,  and  prospers  to  this  day.  In  1897  he  returned 
to  his  old  flock  at  Whitworth,  where  he  died  very 
suddenly  on  June  28,  1902. 

Mr.  Berry  was  followed  at  York  Road,  in  1875,  by 
Rev.  Thos.  Davies,  M.A.,  Ph.D.,  from  Pembroke.  He 
had  studied  at  Brecon  and  Gottingen.  In  1876  the 
church  buildings  were  improved  at  a  cost  of  £2,400. 
Dr.  Davies  was  the  author  of  numerous  works,  including 
two  volumes  of  "  Sermons  and  Expositions,"  and  a 
useful  "  Commentary  on  Philippians."  He  trained 
several  young  men  for  the  ministry,  and  was  for  a  time 
classical  tutor  at  "The  Pastors'  College."  In  1886 
he  removed  to  West  Brompton,  and  died  November  28, 

Rev.  Bevill  Allen  succeeded.  He  had  been  trained 
at  Hackney  College,  and  had  ministered  at  Mile  End, 
Kilburn,  and  Tonbridge  Chapel  (Euston  Road),  now 
occupied  by  the  Salvation  Army.  He  remained  at 
York  Road  from  1887  to  1893,  and  then  removed  to 
Tooting,  where  he  still  labours  with  success. 

From  1893  to  1895  the  pulpit  was  occupied  by  J. 
Vyrnwy  Morgan,  a  Brecon  student,  whose  pastorate 
seems  to  have  ended  unhappily. 

The  last  minister  at  York  Road  was  Rev.  Allan  Red- 
shaw,  who  had  been  trained  in  the  Wesleyan  College, 
Headingly.  After  short  pastorates  at  Fairford  and 
Malmesbury,  he  ministered  for  ten  years  in  the  Old 
Chapel  at  Stroud,  and  entered  on  his  work  in  London 
in  1896.  Published  statistics  indicated  that  his  ministry 
was  by  no  means  unfruitful ;  but  the  neighbourhood 
had  by  this  time  become  greatly  impoverished,  and 
financial  difficulties  became  insuperable.     Mr.  Redshaw 


retired  in  1900,  and  is  now  pastor  of  Clive  Vale  Church, 

After  Mr.  Redshaw's  retirement  the  church  was  dis- 
solved and  the  building  sold. 



Although  the  church  at  Hersham  is  of  comparatively 
recent  date,  the  springs  of  Nonconformity  in  this  neigh- 
bourhood must  be  sought  at  a  much  earlier  time.  Rev. 
David  Anderson,  M.A.,  after  his  ejectment  from  Walton- 
on-Thames,  remained  for  a  while  in  the  district.  He 
must  have  often  preached,  for  information  was  laid 
against  him  by  one  Robert  Johnson,  who  informs  the 
Secretary  of  State  that  Anderson  lives  at  Walton-on- 
Thames,  where  he  was  last  minister.  He  adds,  "  He 
is  a  young  man,  and  has  parts  to  commend  him,  but  is 
now  very  poor,  and  his  wife  is  ill.  The  constable  of 
Walton  will  best  get  at  him  on  week  days,  Monday  or 
Tuesday,  but  the  sooner  the  better,  because  he  has 
been  to  my  house  to  inquire  of  anything  against  him." 

Whether  he  was  taken  or  not  does  not  appear,  but 
he  soon  afterwards  went  with  his  family  to  Zealand, 
and  settled  at  Middleburgh.  Here  they  are  said  to 
have  been  reduced  to  extreme  poverty,  when  a  stranger 
— who  never  permitted  his  identity  to  be  discovered — 
made  provision  for  their  necessities.  Mr.  Anderson 
afterwards  became  minister  of  the  English  Church  at 
Middleburgh,  where  he  died  March,  1677. 

The  next  mention  of  this  neighbourhood  is  in  the  list 


of  licences    under   the    Indulgence  :    "  Walton  -  upon- 
Thames,  the  house  of  John  Daverson,  May  16,  1672." 

It  is  a  far  step  from  these  early  days  to  the  nineteenth 
century,  but  meanwhile  we  have  no  record  of  any  Non- 
conformist services.  At  that  time  Walton  and  Hersham 
were  in  a  sad  state  of  spiritual  destitution.  Sunday 
was  a  great  day  for  field  sports,  and  the  prize  fights  on 
Hersham  Green  were  so  celebrated  as  to  draw  spectators 
from  all  the  neighbourhood  round.  The  Wesleyans, 
in  1820,  commenced  religious  services  and  a  Sunday 
school  in  a  room  at  the  back  of  the  "  Fox  and  Goat  " 
public  house  near  the  village  green.  For  nearly  twenty 
years  this  was  the  only  place  of  worship  in  Hersham, 
as  the  Established  Church  did  not  erect  a  building  till 

In  the  year  1839  the  Home  Missionary  Society  hired 
a  room  adjoining  the  "  Bears  Inn  "  at  Walton.  Public 
houses  seem  to  have  afforded  the  only  obtainable  places 
for  worship.  The  opening  services  were  conducted  by 
Rev.  G.  Evans,  of  Mile  End,  on  Sunday,  September  22, 
and  the  following  Sunday  the  Rev.  Austin  E.  Lord, 
who  had  been  appointed  to  this  station  by  the  Society, 
entered  upon  his  labours. 

Twenty  people  assembled  in  the  morning  and  about 
one  hundred  and  fifty  at  night. 

Mr.  Lord  was  born  at  Olney,  May  7,  1812.  He  was 
the  child  of  godfearing  parents  ;  his  father  was  pre- 
eminently a  man  of  prayer.  In  his  early  days  his 
parents  removed  to  Northampton,  when  he  attended 
the  ministry  of  Rev.  C.  J.  Hyatt,  at  Doddridge  Chapel. 
Here  he  became  a  Sunday  school  teacher  and  village 
preacher,  and  desired  to  give  himself  to  the  work  of  the 
ministry.  Shortly  after  he  undertook  the  management 
of  a  business  in  London,  and  found  scope  for  his  activities 


at  Barbican  Chapel  and  in  connection  with  the 
Christian  Instruction  Society.  He  was  advised  to 
apply  to  the  Directors  of  the  Home  Missionary  Society, 
who,  as  already  stated,  appointed  him  to  Walton. 

In    the    public    house    club    room,  with  only   three 
families  to    support   him,  Mr.  Lord   began    his   work. 
For  years  he  was  subject  to  all    kinds  of  annoyance. 
Waddington  says,  "  Persecution  of  its  kind  soon  com- 
menced from  the  vicar,  and  was  long  continued.      The 
rabble  gathered  at  the  door  and  obstructed  the  entrance, 
and  to  create  confusion  and  alarm  threw  into  the  meet- 
ing lighted  fireworks.      A  class,  more   respectable   in 
appearance,  came  and  amused  themselves  by   letting 
loose   birds  to    fly  at   the  lights,  or  in  throwing  peas 
about  during  the  time  of  prayer.     Behind  the  pulpit 
was    a   thin    partition    of    wood,    separating    a    room 
occupied    by    a    person    of  violent    temper,    who   was 
addicted  to  profane    swearing.       Fearful    imprecations 
were  often  heard  by  the  congregation,  interrupting  the 
words  of  the  preacher."     But  the  work  prospered,  a 
Sunday  school  was  established,  cottage  meetings  and 
open-air  preaching  were  carried  on,  the  neighbourhood 
was  systematically  visited,  and  gradually  a  congregation 
was  gathered.     During  the  next  few  years,  no  less  than 
twelve  attempts  were  made  to  secure  a  site  for  a  chapel, 
but  all  efforts  were  thwarted  by  the  neighbouring  land- 
owners, who  were  determined  to  keep  Nonconformity 
out  of  the  village. 

At  last  a  piece  of  land  was  obtained  at  Hersham,  two 
miles  from  Walton  :  purchased  and  given,  it  is  under- 
stood, by  a  Mr.  Scott,  of  Ryder's  Farm.  On  August 
16, 1843,  the  first  stone  was  laid  by  Mr.  Charles  Hindley, 
M.P.  for  Ashton-under-Lyne :  and  on  August  27,  1844, 
the  chapel  (a  circular  building)  was  opened. 


The  church  was  organised  on  October  21  following. 
Rev.  John  Edwards,  of  Kingston-on-Thames,  presided 
over  the  meeting,  and  twenty-three  persons  gave  in 
their  names  for  fellowship.  Mr.  Lord  was  unanimously 
chosen  pastor,  and  Mr.  James  Bartholomew  was  elected 
deacon.  Mr.  Edwards  administered  the  Lord's  Supper 
to  the  new  members,  many  from  other  churches 

On  December  18,  1844,  Mr.  Lord  was  ordained,  and 
for  thirty-seven  years  longer  laboured  with  great  zeal 
and  acceptance  in  this  his  first  and  only  charge. 

In  1858  the  chapel  was  enlarged  by  the  erection  of  a 
gallery,  at  a  cost  of  £314,  the  whole  of  which  was 
promptly  raised. 

In  1864  a  schoolroom  was  erected,  and  the  chapel 
was  renovated  and  supplied  with  heating  apparatus. 

Mr.  Lord's  energies  were  not  confined  to  Hersham. 
There  was  hardly  a  village  round  but  received  the  benefit 
of  his  preaching,  and  even  such  remote  places  as  Ripley 
and  Oxted  were  frequently  visited.  He  was  a  faithful 
preacher,  and  valiant  for  the  truth.  During  his  ministry 
no  less  than  328  were  gathered  into  church  fellowship. 
When  Mr.  Lord  had  completed  thirty  years  of  labour 
in  Hersham,  the  members  of  the  church  decided  to 
celebrate  the  event  by  presenting  him  with  a  substan- 
tial expression  of  their  esteem.  Soon  £664  was  raised, 
many  members  of  the  Established  Church  being  amongst 
the  donors. 

For  twelve  years  longer  Mr.  Lord  continued  in  the 
service  of  the  church.  His  death  was  very  sudden.  On 
Sunday,  July  24,  1881,  he  preached  two  sermons  with  all 
his  usual  power  on  "  The  Christian's  Trust  "  and  "  God's 
Gift."  Two  days  later  he  passed  to  his  rest  and  reward. 
For  over  a  year  the  church  remained  without  a  pastor. 



Then  an  invitation  was  given  to  the  Rev.  Herbert 
Jason  Crouch,  who  for  eight  years  had  successfully 
laboured  at  Barton  Cliff,  in  Hampshire.  Mr.  Crouch 
entered  upon  his  work  at  Hersham  on  November  12, 
1882.  The  first  invitation,  in  accordance  with  a  resolu- 
tion passed  soon  after  Mr.  Lord's  death,  was  for  a  pro- 
bationary term  of  twelve  months  ;  but  long  before  that 
time  had  expired  the  church  made  it  permanent,  and 
the  first  anniversary,  on  November  8,  1883,  took  the 
form  of  a  recognition  service. 

In  September,  1884,  new  trustees  were  appointed,  as 
most  of  the  old  ones  had  passed  away.  The  new  deeds 
were  deposited  in  the  Memorial  Hall. 

The  year  1889  was  memorable  as  the  jubilee  of  the 
church,  and  to  celebrate  the  event  the  church  building 
was  further  enlarged  by  the  addition  of  a  chancel.  In 
this  way  about  100  extra  sittings  were  provided.  Other 
improvements  made  then  and  since  have  cost  £1,500, 
the  whole  of  which  has  been  raised. 

It  would  be  impossible  to  mention  all  the  worthy 
names  found  on  the  church  roll,  but  one  or  two  are 
deserving  of  especial  notice.  Mr.  C.  E.  Smith,  of 
Silvermere,  Cobham,  by  his  faithful  service  and  large- 
hearted  generosity,  encouraged  the  church  through 
forty  years.  Benjamin  Scott,  Chamberlain  of  the  City 
of  London,  whose  splendid  services  in  the  county  are 
noticed  elsewhere,  was  for  some  years  a  prominent 
member  of  this  cause.  Sir  Charles  Reed  was  also 
associated  with  this  church  as  one  of  the  trustees. 

Mr.  Crouch  held  the  pastorate  until  1907,  when  he 
resigned.  A  serious  illness  had  previously  laid  him 
aside  for  some  months.  The  church  then  called 
Mr.  A.  Walker,  of  Guildford,  to  the  vacant  pulpit. 
Some  unhappy  dissensions  occurred  about  the  time  of 

COB  HAM  291 

Mr.  Crouch's  resignation,  the  result  of  which  was  a 
secession.  A  new  church  was  formed  at  Brampton 
Gardens,  Hersham ;  an  iron  building  was  erected,  and 
Mr.  Crouch  elected  pastor. 


(1847— 1854) 

Although  the  church  at  Cobham  is  of  comparatively 
recent  date,  Nonconformity  goes  back  almost  to  the 
ejectment.  A  licence  was  granted  on  May  29,  1672,  to 
the  house  of  James  Towers,  Presbyterian.  The  receipt 
for  the  licence,  however,  gives  the  name  as  James 
Powers.  But  of  this  meeting  nothing  more  is  known. 
As  in  many  another  village  there  is  a  long  silence, 
unbroken  for  nearly  150  years.  But  in  182 1  Mr. 
Gayton,  an  agent  of  the  Surrey  Mission,  visited  the 
village  and  regularly  preached  in  it  for  some  time,  and 
established  a  Sunday  school.  Mr.  Gayton's  connection 
with  the  mission  soon  after  ceased,  and  the  work 
here  appears  to  have  been  given  up,  for  there  is  no 
further  mention  of  Cobham  till  in  1847.  ^n  that  year  a 
Miss  Meller  was  so  impressed  with  the  spiritual 
destitution  of  the  neighbourhood  that  she  called  upon 
Rev.  A.  E.  Lord,  of  Hersham,  and  begged  him  to 
arrange  for  some  one  to  preach  the  gospel  there.  The 
common  on  the  Lord's  Day  was  given  over  to  all  sorts 
of  games,  and  we  are  told  that  more  than  100  young 
people  from  seven  to  thirty  years  of  age  might  be  seen 
in  various  groups,  spending  the  day  in  sports  and 
"  heathenish  pastimes."  Miss  Meller  also  waited  on 
Rev.  J.  Morris,  of  Leatherhead,  with  the  same  request. 

Mr.  Lord  went  on  the  following  Sunday,  and  found 

u  2 


some  thirty  persons  gathered  at  the  hamlet  of  Down- 
side, about  a  mile  and  a  half  from  Cobham.  A  room 
was  hired,  and  the  following  month  Mr.  Lord  began 
public  worship  in  the  village.  Here  he  and  Mr.  Morris 
laboured  for  two  years,  when  the  Surrey  Mission  took 
over  the  station. 

A  larger  room  was  secured,  and  in  1850  Rev.  Henry 
White,  who  had  been  engaged  in  home  missionary 
work  in  Essex,  was  appointed  to  the  post. 

Rev.  J.  Shedlock,  of  Merton,  who  knew  the  district, 
went  over  to  help  in  the  introductory  services.  There 
was  some  disturbance  at  the  opening  meeting,  some 
unruly  young  fellows  got  into  the  room  and  began  to 
let  off  fireworks ;  but  this  opposition  excited  attention 
and  elicited  a  considerable  amount  of  sympathy,  so 
that  on  the  following  Sunday  the  missionary  found  a 
room  full  of  attentive  people. 

Soon  he  was  able  to  report  that  the  congregation 
was  "large  and  steady."  A  week-night  service  was 
commenced,  also  one  on  Sunday  mornings;  and  a 
gentleman  belonging  to  the  Society  of  Friends  kindly 
came  forward  and  paid  the  rent  for  the  quarter. 

In  1854  the  present  chapel  was  erected  at  a  cost  of 
£600,  and  opened  on  May  2  entirely  free  from  debt. 
On  December  6  following,  a  church  of  seven  members 
was  formed  by  Rev.  L.  H.  Byrnes,  who  went  over  from 
Kingston  to  preside  at  the  service.  Mr.  White  reports 
the  following  year :  "  The  appearances  of  things  at 
Cobham  are  very  different  from  what  they  were  this  time 
twelve  months.  Then  we  had  a  dilapidated  room  in 
which  we  assembled  for  divine  worship,  now  we  have 
a  beautiful  chapel,  a  good  congregation,  a  church 
formed,  and  a  Sunday  school  established,  and  all  the 
ordinances  of  religion  administered." 

COBHAM  293 

In  1863  Mr.  White's  connection  with  the  Surrey 
Mission  ceased,  and  he  continued  to  labour  among  the 
people  at  his  own  charge  until  his  retirement  ten  years 
later.  He  died  at  Hersham  on  May  9,  1883,  at  the  age 
of  seventy-five. 

The  Surrey  Mission,  on  Mr.  White's  retirement,  made 
a  grant  of  £20  towards  the  work,  and  committed  the 
oversight  of  the  station  to  the  Rev.  A.  E.  Lord  of 

Seven  years  later  we  read  that  the  work  was  still 
under  the  superintendence  of  Mr.  Lord,  and  sustained 
principally  by  a  generous  friend  of  the  Mission. 

In  1884  Mr.  F.  W.  Whiting  was  placed  here  as  an 
evangelist.  During  his  ministry  a  schoolroom  was 
built  behind  the  chapel,  by  C.  E.  Smith,  Esq.,  of 
Silvermere,  Cobham,  who  presented  it  to  the  church. 
The  opening  took  place  on  January  7,  1886,  when  Mr. 
A.  Smith,  the  son  of  the  donor,  presided. 

In  1888  Mr.  Whiting  resigned  to  accept  the  pastorate 
at  Crawley,  Sussex.     He  is  now  at  Henfield. 

For  several  years  Cobham  was  supplied  by  preachers 
from  the  neighbouring  villages,  chiefly  under  the  over- 
sight of  Weybridge.  In  1900  Mr.  J.  F.  Moon  was 
placed  in  charge  of  the  church  as  evangelist.  He 
remained  until  1904,  when  the  churches  at  Cobham 
and  Byfleet  were  united  by  the  Surrey  Union  under 
the  Rev.  M.  Williams,  B.A.  Mr.  Williams  had  been 
a  student  of  Lancashire  College,  and  graduated  at 
Victoria  University.  His  first  pastorate  was  at  Oaken- 
gates,  Salop,  where  he  remained  from  1897  till  his 
invitation  to  Cobham  in  1904. 

Under  Mr.  Williams's  ministry  the  work  at  Cobham 
has  considerably  revived.  Many  difficulties  have  been 
surmounted  ;  signs  of  material  and  spiritual  progress 


are  not  wanting,  and  it  is  confidently  hoped  that  a 
new  era  of  usefulness  has  been  entered  upon  by  this 



Egham  is  a  long  straggling  town  of  12,000  inhabitants 
situated  on  the  banks  of  the  Thames,  not  far  from 
historic  Runnymead ;  quiet  enough  to-day,  but  a  place 
of  considerable  importance  in  the  old  coaching  times, 
when  it  was  a  stopping  place  on  the  great  coach  road  to 
the  west  of  England. 

From  the  parish  church  of  Egham  William  Reyner, 
B.D.,  was  ejected,  after  he  had  ministered  to  the  people 
for  forty-six  years.  He  was  a  godly  man,  passing  rich 
on  £60  a  year.  He  gave  up  his  living  without  any 
prospect  of  subsistence  ;  but,  says  Calamy,  through  the 
care  of  divine  providence  he  was  in  no  want,  though 
he  died  worth  little  or  nothing.  He  remained  in 
the  parish  after  his  ejectment,  till  his  death  in  1666; 
but  does  not  appear  to  have  gathered  a  church,  though 
he  preached  privately,  as  far  as  his  strength  would  allow 

We  have  to  pass  over  nearly  two  hundred  years 
before  we  find  a  Congregational  Church  in  Egham.  In 
1851,  by  the  generosity  of  Mr.  J.  Remington  Mills,  M.P., 
the  present  structure  was  erected.  Mr.  Mills,  who 
resided  in  the  neighbourhood,  not  only  put  up  the 
building,  but  watched  over  the  little  cause  with  the 
kindliest    care.      The    chapel    was    opened    for   divine 

EGHAM  295 

worship  early  in  1851,  and  invested  in  trustees  for  the 
benefit  of  the  congregation.  Rev.  Joshua  C.  Harrison 
preached  at  the  opening  services.  On  Wednesday, 
July  7,  a  service  was  held  in  the  new  chapel,  for  the 
double  purpose  of  forming  a  church,  and  recognising 
Rev.  J.  G.  Manly  as  its  minister.  Rev.  Dr.  Stoughton 
preached,  and  Rev.  Thomas  Binney  presided  at  the 
Lord's  Supper.  Mr.  Manly  read  over  the  names. 
Twenty-three  persons  were  enrolled  as  first  members  of 
the  church ;  and  by  show  of  hands  Mr.  Manly  was 
unanimously  elected  pastor.  Members  of  neighbouring 
churches  united  with  the  new  fellowship  around  the 
Lord's  table  ;  and,  says  the  Evangelical  Magazine,  the 
whole  service  was  solemn  and  impressive,  the  first  of 
the  kind  ever  held  in  Egham. 

Mr.  Manly  held  the  pastorate  for  three  years,  when 
he  removed  to  Dublin.  He  was  succeeded  in  1856  by 
Rev.  W.  Knight,  who  ministered  till  May,  1861. 

The  next  pastor  was  Rev.  Robert  Willan,  who  was 
born  at  Dent,  in  the  West  Riding  of  Yorkshire,  April  3, 
1818.  After  a  course  of  study  at  Edinburgh  he  laboured 
successfully  first  at  Birstall,  near  Leeds,  and  then  at 
Holmfirth.  He  removed  to  Egham  Hill  in  the  autumn 
of  1861. 

Mr.  Willan's  ministry  at  Egham  was  greatly  appre- 
ciated by  Mr.  Mills,  who  again  generously  assisted  the 
church  by  erecting  two  villas,  one  to  be  used  as  a 
manse,  and  the  other  to  be  let  for  the  benefit  of  the 

In  1878  Mr.  Willan  removed  to  Newport,  Isle  of 
Wight,  after  a  helpful  and  successful  ministry  that  is 
still  remembered.  Two  years  later  his  wife's  health 
forced  him  to  return  to  Yorkshire ;  and  the  pulpit  at 
Birstall  being  vacant,  he  resumed  his  old  charge.     Here 


he  remained  till  his  death,  which  took  place  suddenly 
at  Dent  on  June  14,  1883. 

Mr.  Willan  was  followed  by  Rev.  Horrocks  Cocks, 
from  Putney.  A  fuller  account  of  him  will  be  found  in 
the  history  of  the  Putney  church.  He  resigned  the 
charge  at  Egham,  through  failing  health,  in  1886. 

Rev.  Joseph  Lucas  was  the  next  minister.  He  had 
for  eleven  years  worked  amid  the  difficulties  of  the 
East  End  of  London.  During  his  pastorate  at  Egham 
new  class-rooms  were  built,  which  had  become  an 
urgent  necessity  owing  to  the  growth  of  the  Sunday 
school.  The  memorial  stones  were  laid  in  July,  1888, 
by  Mr.  Joseph  Macdonald;  the  class-rooms  were  opened 
the  following  September,  and  the  whole  amount  required 
(£250)  was  raised. 

In  1897  Mr.  Lucas,  greatly  to  the  regret  of  his  people, 
resigned  the  pastorate.  He  has  not  taken  another 
charge,  and  now  lives  at  Waldron,  in  Sussex. 

The  following  year  the  church  gave  a  hearty  invita- 
tion to  Mr.  Herbert  Howard  Orme,  from  Hackney 
College.  Mr.  Orme  was  ordained  on  October  20, 1898. 
Under  his  ministry  an  efficient  work  was  carried  on, 
and  the  membership  considerably  increased. 

In  1901  the  church  celebrated  its  jubilee.  Special 
services  commemorated  the  event;  the  choir  accommo- 
dation was  improved,  and  the  organ  rebuilt,  at  a  cost 
of  £200. 

In  1904,  during  the  last  year  of  Mr.  Orme's  ministry, 
the  debt  incurred  in  renovating  the  church  was  extin- 
guished by  a  very  successful  bazaar,  at  which  £163  was 

After  seven  years'  work,  Mr.  Orme  accepted  in 
1905  the  post  of  assistant  minister  at  Queen  Street 
Church,  Wolverhampton.      His  successor  at  Egham  is 

DULWICH,    WEST  297 

Rev.  A.  E.  Snashall,  late  of  Milton,  near  Sittingbourne. 
Mr.  Snashall  is  a  son  of  the  late  Rev.  George  Snashall, 
the  highty-respected  minister  of  Finsbury  Park  and 
South  Hackney.  He  is  a  New  College  student,  and 
his  first  charge  was  as  assistant  to  Rev.  John  Onley,  of 
Kingston.  He  has  entered  upon  his  work  at  Egham 
Hill  with  great  promise  of  a  useful  pastorate. 



The  church  at  West  Dulwich  had  its  origin  in  the 
evangelistic  zeal  of  the  Rev.  B.  Kent,  of  Lower  Nor- 
wood, and  a  few  Christian  friends.  In  the  latter  part 
of  the  yeari85i  these  gentlemen  united  for  the  purpose 
of  providing  the  neighbourhood  of  West  Dulwich  with 
a  Nonconformist  place  of  worship. 

The  result  of  their  efforts  was  the  erection  of  a  small 
chapel  in  Rosendale  Road,  with  seating  accommodation 
for  about  100  people,  and  costing  about  £400.  The 
foundation  stone  of  this  building  was  laid  by  the  Rev. 
J.  Burnet  in  October,  185 1,  and  it  was  opened  for  wor- 
ship on  February  23  in  the  following  year.  A  congre- 
gation was  soon  gathered,  and  on  May  29,  1853,  the 
Rev.  C.  G.  Rowe,  formerly  of  Trinity  Chapel,  Leather 
Lane,  was  elected  the  first  pastor. 

It  was  soon  seen,  however,  that  a  larger  building 
would  be  required,  forty-nine  members  being  enrolled 
during  the  first  year  of  Mr.  Rowe's  ministry.  A  site 
was  accordingly  acquired  in  Park  Road,  at  a  cost  of 
£283,  and  on  October  2,  1854,  the  foundation  stone  of 


the  present  church  was  laid  by  Joseph  Tritton,  Esq 
The  total  cost  of  the  present  building  was  about  £2,750, 
which  sum  was  paid  towards  the  close  of  the  year  1858, 
the  London  Congregational  Building  Society  contribu- 
ting £400.     The  chapel  was  opened  on  June  1,  1855. 

The  Rev.  C.  G.  Rowe  resigned  the  pastorate  in  July, 
1862,  and  was  succeeded  the  following  March  by  the 
Rev.  J.  W.  Richardson,  of  Tottenham  Court  Chapel. 
His  pastorate,  however,  was  a  short  one  ;  in  March, 
1867,  he  received  a  call  to  the  Congregational  Church 
at  Rotherham,  in  Yorkshire,  which  he  accepted.  He 
retired  in  1869,  and  returned  to  London  to  reside.  On 
Easter  Monday,  1874,  he  was  stricken  with  paralysis, 
and  passed  to  his  rest  March  27,  in  his  seventy-fifth 

In  September,  1867,  the  Rev.  Walter  Hardie,  B.A., 
of  Wycliffe  Chapel,  Stepney,  became  the  pastor.  During 
his  ministry  a  debt  of  £450  on  this  chapel  was  liqui- 
dated. The  lecture  hall  at  the  back  of  the  church  was 
also  built,  various  alterations  being  made  at  the  same 
time  in  the  vestries.  The  cost  of  this  building  and  the 
alterations  amounted  to  nearly  £900. 

A  debt  of  £500,  which  remained,  was  paid  off  by  a 
bazaar  and  subscription  in  1872. 

Owing  to  the  failure  of  Mr.  Hardie's  health,  and  the 
necessity  for  his  removal  to  a  warmer  climate,  the 
pastorate  again  became  vacant,  to  the  great  grief  of 
the  congregation,  in  September,  1869.  Mr.  Hardie 
died  November  5,  1874,  at  Goulburn,  near  Sydney, 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  Thomas  Stephenson, 
formerly  of  the  Burdett  Road  Congregational  Church, 
Stepney,  who  entered  upon  the  duties  of  his  office  on 
January  23,  1870. 

DULWICH,    WEST  299 

Under  the  direction  of  Mr.  Stephenson  the  church 
prospered,  and  a  mission  was  commenced  in  the  East 
of  London,  where  a  Bible-woman  was  supported  by 
the  friends  at  East  Dulwich  for  work  amongst  the 

In  1874  Mr.  Stephenson  resigned  the  pastorate  in 
order  to  devote  himself  to  literary  work.  He  died  in 
1883,  in  the  forty-fifth  year  of  his  age. 

Rev.  W.  P.  Dothie,  M.A.,  of  Redhill,  was  the  next 
minister.  He  continued  till  1880.  He  has  since  held  a 
pastorate  at  Parkstone,  Dorset  (1886 — 1897),  and  now 
lives  retired  at  Ramsgate. 

The  following  year  the  church  called  Rev.  A.  C. 
Tarbolton,  a  student  of  New  College,  to  the  vacant 
pulpit.  Mr.  Tarbolton  ministered  with  great  accept- 
ance till  1887,  when  he  removed  to  Basingstoke.  He 
was  succeeded  by  Rev.  C.  F.  W.  Wood,  M.A.,  who 
was  called  on  February  17,  1887.  Mr.  Wood  was  also 
a  student  of  New  College,  and  had  laboured  for  five 
years  at  New  Maiden.  He  continued  till  1893,  when 
he  retired  from  active  ministry. 

The  church  then  invited  Rev.  R.  C.  Sandison,  of 
Cheshunt  College,  to  the  pastorate.  Mr.  Sandison 
accepted  the  invitation,  and  commenced  his  ministry — 
which  he  still  continues — on  December  3,  1893. 

In  1899  a  new  organ  was  placed  in  the  church  at  the 
cost  of  £315.  In  1904  the  church  and  school  buildings 
were  renovated  and  re-decorated  at  a  cost  of  ^"375. 



Lving  close  to  some  of  the  fairest  reaches  of  the 
Thames,  within  easy  distance  of  Hampton  Court  and 
Richmond  Park  and  many  of  the  sweetest  spots  in 
Surrey,  no  one  can  wonder  at  the  rapid  and  substantial 
growth  of  Surbiton.  Some  years  ago  it  was  regarded 
as  a  suburb  of  Kingston,  and  was  known  as  New 
Kingston.  To-day  it  bears  its  own  name,  and  ranks 
as  one  of  the  most  charming  suburbs  of  London. 

To  the  Rev.  Lawrence  Henry  Byrnes,  pastor  of  the 
Kingston  Church,  must  be  given  the  honour  of  initiat- 
ing the  cause  of  Nonconformity  in  Surbiton.  He 
brought  the  state  of  this  neighbourhood  before  his 
people  and  encouraged  them  to  collect  money  for 
building  a  place  of  worship. 

A  copy  of  the  circular  that  was  issued  fell  into  the 
hands  of  Mr.  W.  Leavers,  of  Islington,  who  drew  the 
attention  of  Rev.  R.  H.  Smith  to  this  promising  sphere 
of  work. 

Mr.  Smith  was  one  of  those  men  who  love  pioneer 
work.  He  would  rather  build  up  a  cause  than  settle 
down  in  a  church  already  established.  At  Brading,  in 
the  Isle  of  Wight,  he  had  rescued  a  small  cause  from 
decay,  established  a  day  school,  and  procured  for  the 
people  a  Dissenters'  burying  ground.  He  was  at  this 
time  at  Halesowen,  Worcestershire;  but  seeing  the 
possibilities  of  Surbiton  he  came  to  reside  there  and 
opened  his  house  for  divine  worship. 

It  was  indeed  the  day  of  small  things.     At  the  first 

J.  Carveix  Williams,  M.P., 
Chairman  of  the  Congregational  Union,  1890. 


meeting,  on  Sunday,  September  25,  1853,  three  persons 
attended.  But  if  the  audience  was  small  Mr.  Smith's 
faith  was  large,  and  he  erected  in  his  own  garden  a 
temporary  building  to  seat  130  persons.  The  cost  was 
afterwards  borne  by  Mr.  Leavers,  who  meanwhile  had 
come  to  reside  in  Surbiton  also. 

So  well  did  the  new  cause  prosper  that  early  in  the 
following  year  it  was  resolved  to  build  a  permanent 
church.  A  site  was  obtained,  and  on  April  27,  1854, 
the  foundation  stone  was  laid  by  Mr.  Leavers,  who 
generously  contributed  £500  and  became  treasurer  of 
the  building  fund.  At  the  service  Rev.  Thomas 
Binney  delivered  an  address,  and  Rev.  L.  H.  Byrnes 
offered  the  dedicatory  prayer. 

The  following  Monday  those  members  of  the  congre- 
gation who  had  previously  been  members  of  various 
Christian  Churches  were  formed  into  a  fellowship  by 
Rev.  David  Thomas,  of  Stockwell. 

On  October  5  the  building  was  completed  and  opened 
for  divine  worship.  Sunday  schools  soon  followed,  and 
later  a  room  was  built  near  the  Brighton  Road,  where 
religious  and  social  work  was  energetically  carried  on. 
About  this  time  Mr.  J.  Carvell  Williams,  afterwards 
the  honoured  champion  of  religious  liberty,  became 
Church  Secretary,  and  notwithstanding  his  services  in 
other  directions,  for  fourteen  years  found  time  to 
render  valuable  service  to  the  church.  In  i860  Mr. 
Leavers  added  to  his  former  generosity  by  cancelling  the 
mortgage  of  £500  which  remained  upon  the  building. 

Now  that  the  little  cause  seemed  fairly  established 
Mr.  Smith  felt  it  his  duty  to  enter  upon  pioneer  work 
again.  He  resigned  the  pastoiate,  leaving  behind  him 
a  memory  of  organising  ability  and  personal  effort  that 
is  still  a  cherished  tradition  of  the  church.     Mr.  Smith 


was  a  remarkable  man.  He  had  considerable  gifts  as 
an  artist  and  art  critic,  and  used  art  as  well  as  the 
pulpit  as  a  means  of  preaching.  After  leaving  Surbiton 
he  laboured  for  some  years  at  Hanley,  and  subse- 
quently established  a  church  at  Gospel  Oak,  Hampstead, 
where  he  died  in  1884. 

Surbiton,  though  a  comparatively  new  church,  has 
had  amongst  its  pastors  one  of  the  foremost  men  of 
our  denomination,  Alexander  Mackennal.  He  was 
born  at  Truro,  in  January,  1835.  Of  Scotch  descent 
by  his  father  and  Cornish  by  his  mother,  he  combined 
the  vigorous  Nonconformity  of  both.  His  early  life 
was  passed  in  the  little  Cornish  city.  In  1848  the 
family  removed  to  London,  and  he  soon  afterwards 
entered  the  University  of  Glasgow,  which  in  after 
years  honoured  him  with  the  degree  of  D.D.  He 
entered  Hackney  College  in  1854,  and  took  his  B.A. 
degree  at  the  London  University.  Mr.  Mackennal's 
first  charge  was  at  Burton-on-Trent.  He  had  been 
there  three  years  when  the  call  came  to  follow  Mr. 
Smith  at  Surbiton.  He  accepted,  and  his  public 
recognition  took  place  August  8,  1861,  Revs.  Dr.  T. 
Binney  and  L.  H.  Byrnes  again  coming  over  to  take 
part  in  the  service. 

Under  Mr.  Mackennal's  ministry  the  church  soon 
grew.  A  week  day  school  for  infants  was  added  in 
1862,  and  the  following  year  Mr.  Leavers  presented  an 
organ  to  the  church.  At  the  opening  of  this  instru- 
ment the  valuable  assistance  rendered  by  the  Estab- 
lished Church  choir  of  Kingston  called  forth  much 
admiration  for  the  brotherly  feeling  between  the  two 

Before  long  the  need  was  felt  for  a  larger  building. 
The   surrounding  property    proving    too   expensive,  a 


fresh  site  was  found,  and  on  June  27,  1865,  the 
foundation  stone  was  laid  by  Thomas  Barnes,  Esq., 
M.P.  for  Bolton.  Mrs.  Leavers  now  came  forward  with 
a  generous  donation  of  £500  towards  the  site.  Twelve 
months  later,  on  Mrs.  Leavers'  birthday,  the  church 
was  dedicated.  The  cost  amounted  to  £"6,963,  of  which 
a  debt  of  £3,268  still  remained.  In  1867  the  old 
building  was  altered  and  adapted  for  schools  and 
lecture  hall.  Soon  after,  Mr.  Leavers,  whose  munificent 
gifts  had  so  helped  the  church,  died  suddenly  at  Wey- 
mouth. A  tablet  in  the  church  was  erected  to  his 
memory  as  an  expression  of  the  gratitude  of  the 
people.  In  1869  new  trustees  were  appointed,  and  a 
scheme  was  approved  for  carrying  on  religious  and 
social  work  in  the  Surbiton  Park  Schools  and  Lecture 

After  nine  years  of  mingled  joy  and  sorrow,  during 
which  he  had  found  a  wife  but  had  lost  a  mother  and  a 
beloved  sister,  Mr.  Mackennal  to  the  great  regret  of 
his  people  removed  to  Leicester  August  8,  1870.  For 
eleven  months  the  church  was  without  a  minister,  and 
then  Rev.  William  Jones,  of  Salisbury,  was  welcomed 
to  the  pastorate. 

The  following  year  the  church  suffered  a  severe  loss 
in  the  removal  of  Mr.  John  Carvell  Williams  from 
Surbiton.  For  fourteen  years  he  had  worked  as  a 
deacon  and  secretary  with  conspicuous  zeal  and  success, 
and  a  handsome  testimonial  testified  to  the  esteem  in 
which  he  was  held. 

During  the  next  few  years  the  church  suffered  con- 
siderable losses.  Between  1871  and  1878  four  of  the 
five  deacons  had  resigned  ;  but  the  remaining  deacon, 
Mr.  Richardson,  worked  on  with  great  devotion  till  he 
too  left  the  neighbourhood  in  1885. 


But  if  there  were  losses,  there  was  also  good  work 
to  record.  In  1874  the  debt  on  the  church  was  cleared 
off  by  the  generosity  of  some  members  and  friends, 
and  the  same  year  a  new  organ  was  built  at  the  end 
of  the  church  opposite  the  pulpit. 

In  1885  Mr.  Jones  retired  from  the  pastorate,  and  the 
church  was  without  a  minister  until  1887,  when  Rev. 
Alfred  Flower  was  appointed.  In  1886  the  church 
had  the  pleasure  of  congratulating  its  former  minister, 
Rev.  Dr.  Mackennal,  on  his  election  to  the  chairman- 
ship of  the  Congregational  Union  of  England  and 

At  length,  in  1891,  the  strain  of  pastoral  and  pulpit 
work  proved  too  much  for  Mr.  Flower,  and  he  retired 
from  ministerial  responsibilities. 

For  three  years  the  church  remained  without  a 
minister.  In  1894  Rev.  J.  W.  Burn,  from  the  Wesleyan 
College  at  Didsbury,  was  appointed. 

Much  interest  was  shown  about  this  time  in  the  East 
End  work  of  the  London  Congregational  Union.  No 
less  than  £34  5s.  7d.  was  collected  by  the  young  people, 
who  thus  made  the  church  the  largest  contributor  to 
the  fund,  a  position  it  has  ever  since  striven  to  maintain. 

After  four  years' service  Mr.  Burn  resigned,  and  Dr.  T. 
Davies,  one  of  the  members,  undertook  the  ministerial 
oversight  until  the  present  minister,  Mr.  H.  Snowdon, 
of  Lancashire  College,  was  appointed. 

Mr.  Snowdon  entered  upon  his  duties  on  October  22, 
1899.  The  same  day  the  church  was  reopened  after 
being  thoroughly  renovated.  The  organ  was  rebuilt  in 
the  original  gallery  at  the  west  end  of  the  church  behind 
the  pulpit.  The  whole  cost  was  £537.  In  the  beautified 
sanctuary  the  minister  began  his  work,  and  with  the 
new  pastorate  came  new  life.     A  society  of  Christian 


Endeavour,  a  Watchers'  Band,  and  a  Band  of  Hope 
were  formed,  and  various  additions  were  made  to  the 

In  1900  the  congratulations  of  the  church  were  again 
offered  to  the  chairman  of  the  Congregational  Union  of 
England  and  Wales.  On  the  first  occasion  it  was  to  a 
former  minister,  but  on  this  occasion  it  was  to  a  former 
deacon,  Mr.  J.  Carvell  Williams,  who  had  been  chosen 
for  this  honourable  post. 

In  1904  the  church  celebrated  its  jubilee,  and  the 
occasion  was  made  the  opportunity  for  an  appeal  for 
funds  to  clear  off  the  deficits  on  the  church  and  lecture 
hall  accounts.  A  generous  response  was  made  to  this 
call  with  the  result  that  the  church  is  now  free  from 
financial  embarrassments. 



This  cause  owes  its  existence  to  the  labours  of  Rev. 
David  Abraham  Herschell,  who  gathered  the  church,  and 
for  thirty-one  years  remained  its  minister.  Mr.  Herschell 
was  born  of  a  Jewish  family  at  Strzelno,  in  Eastern 
Prussia.  He  studied  at  Basle,  where  he  became  a 
Christian.  Coming  to  England,  he  began  work  in 
Liverpool  as  a  missionary  to  the  Jews,  and  later  under- 
took voluntary  work  amongst  the  foreign  sailors  of  that 
important  port.  In  1852  he  removed  to  London  and 
became  assistant  to  his  brother,  Rev.  Ridley  Herschell, 
at    John    Street,  Edgware    Road,  where   he   laboured 



seven  years.  In  the  summer  of  1859  the  conviction  was 
forced  upon  him  that  he  ought  to  seek  another  sphere 
of  activity,  and  although  his  resolution  was  painful 
both  to  his  brother  and  himself,  he  severed  his  connec- 
tion with  John  Street. 

Whilst  waiting  to  see  what  door  would  open,  the 
suggestion  was  made  to  him  that  he  should  erect  a 
place  of  worship  of  his  own.  A  gentleman  whose  wife 
had  been  converted  under  his  ministry  offered  to  head 
a  subscription  list  for  this  object  with  £100,  and  can- 
vassed the  congregation  with  such  success  that  £740 
was  promised.  This  seemed  to  Mr.  Herschell  a  clear 
indication  of  his  duty.  He  was  further  encouraged  by 
the  advice  of  Rev.  Chas.  Gilbert,  the  secretary  of  the 
London  Chapel  Building  Society.  He  asked  Mr. 
Gilbert  if  he  knew  of  a  place  where  land  could  be 
secured  for  building  a  church.  "  If  you  will  stand  a 
hansom  I  will  drive  you  to  such  a  spot,"  was  Mr. 
Gilbert's  reply.  They  drove  to  the  place  where  Lough- 
borough Chapel  now  stands,  then  surrounded  by  fields 
on  all  sides. 

The  friend  who  first  suggested  the  idea,  Mr.  C.  T. 
Mears,  agreed  to  become  treasurer,  and  a  Mr.  Car- 
michael  was  ready  to  act  as  secretary.  These  two,  with 
Mr.  Herschell,  formed  the  building  committee,  who  at 
once  took  steps  to  secure  the  lease  of  the  land.  But 
the  first  results  of  an  appeal  to  leading  Nonconformists 
in  the  neighbourhood  were  disappointing. 

The  foundation  stone  was  laid  on  May  22,  i860,  by 
Mr.  John  Cunliffe.  The  scheme  was  for  a  chapel  to 
hold  480,  with  a  school  and  vestry  seating  200 ;  the 
total  cost  was  not  to  exceed  £1,990,  towards  which 
about  £700  was  promised. 

Whilst  the  chapel  was  building,  a  Scotch  friend  sent 


£20  towards  the  building  fund,  and  offered  Mr.  Herschell 
10,000  New  Testaments  for  distribution  amongst 
Roman  Catholics  abroad.  Mr.  Herschell  says,  "  Risky 
as  this  work  was,  I  was  glad  to  undertake  it  in  order  to 
avoid  begging  for  the  chapel."  On  his  return,  the 
same  friend  sent  him  a  present  of  £100,  which  he 
placed  to  the  chapel  fund,  though  his  own  need  was 

On  October  23,  i860,  the  chapel  was  opened.  The 
Hon.  and  Rev.  Baptist  Noel  preached  in  the  morning, 
and  Rev.  Samuel  Martin,  of  Westminster,  in  the  even- 
ing. The  collections  at  the  opening  services  amounted 
to  above  £100.  The  following  month  a  Sunday  school 
was  opened  ;  and  on  the  first  Sunday  in  December  the 
first  Communion  Service  was  held ;  but  the  church  was 
not  constituted  till  January,  1861. 

At  the  time  of  the  opening  of  the  chapel  a  debt  of 
£1,000  remained,  which  together  with  the  ground  rent 
required  an  annual  outlay  of  £72,  apart  from  incidental 

The  spiritual  history  of  the  church  soon  began.  Very 
few  members  came  from  neighbouring  Nonconformist 
churches,  but  many  were  brought  in  from  the  outside, 
and  Mr.  Herschell's  heart  was  continually  cheered  by 
signal  miracles  of  grace. 

In  1862  it  became  evident  that  more  school  accom- 
modation was  needed.  Mr.  Herschell  waited  till  he  had 
£200,  and  then  commenced  the  work  of  adding  another 
story.  No  sooner  was  the  roof  off  than  the  district 
surveyor  insisted  that  the  outer  walls  should  be  doubled 
and  a  new  staircase  built.  This  demanded  an  outlay  of 
£400.  It  was  then  resolved  to  build  a  much  larger 
schoolroom,  with  rooms  for  chapel  keeper  underneath, 
at   a  cost  of  £700.     Friends   in    West    London,    and 

x  2 


Liverpool,  and  Sunderland,  came  to  the  rescue,  and  the 
greater  part  of  the  money  was  secured.  But  a  fresh 
debt  of  £300  was  added. 

About  this  time  the  railway  was  planned.  At  first  it 
was  proposed  to  avoid  the  chapel,  and  give  no  com- 
pensation whatever  for  the  depreciation  of  property 
caused  by  the  perpetual  nuisance  of  passing  trains. 
This  sharp  practice  was  abandoned  through  the  inter- 
vention of  Sir  Morton  Peto,  who  remonstrated  against 
the  injustice ;  and  Mr.  Herschell  got  £100  and  the 
use  of  the  railway  arches. 

About  the  same  time  the  freehold  of  the  church 
property  was  secured  for  £560  ;  and  the  ground  being 
now  freehold,  the  railway  company  gave  an  additional 
£50  compensation. 

During  this  time  the  minister  had  received  very  little 
towards  his  own  support.  For  the  first  two  years,  after 
expenses  had  been  met,  there  was  no  margin  at  all. 
The  third  year  it  was  possible  to  pay  £50 ;  and  by  the 
fifth  year  the  growth  was  so  considerable  that  the  salary 
increased  to  £150. 

In  1864  the  treasurer,  Mr.  Mears,  died,  and  the 
following  year  five  deacons  were  chosen  ;  the  first  of  a 
worthy  and  generous  line. 

In  the  beginning  of  1866  the  mortgage  of  the  chapel 
was  cleared  off ;  and  as  a  thank  offering,  the  anniver- 
sary collections  were  sent  to  Camberwell  New  Road, 
toward  its  debt  of  £700.  Later  Mr.  Herschell  started 
a  scheme  by  which  the  entire  debt  of  that  chapel  was 

In  1866  a  serious  illness  laid  the  minister  aside.  For 
six  months  his  life  was  despaired  of,  for  a  whole  year 
he  was  confined  at  home,  and  even  after  his  recovery 
for  a  considerable  time  had  to  sit  whilst  preaching. 


The  year  1869  was  marked  by  the  introduction  of  an 
organ  at  a  cost  of  £250. 

Mr.  Herschell's  powers  of  raising  money  were 
remarkable,  and  not  confined  to  his  own  church.  In 
1874  he  built  the  "  Homes  for  Aged  Christians"  at  an 
outlay  of  £4,450.  One  friend  alone  gave  £1,300 
towards  this  undertaking. 

Six  years  later  the  church  was  seriously  damaged  by 
fire,  and  the  opportunity  was  taken  for  extensive 
alterations.  A  gallery  was  added  to  the  west  end  of 
the  church  and  a  tower  built,  which  gave  space  for  an 
organ  loft  as  well  as  a  large  class-room.  In  1886  the 
foundation  stone  of  a  new  schoolroom  was  laid  on 
Tuesday,  July  31,  and  the  building  was  opened  on 
November  7  of  the  same  year.  In  1888,  the  schoolroom 
was  enlarged.  These  improvements  were  carried  out 
at  a  cost  of  over  £2,000. 

Failure  of  health  and  loss  of  sight  at  last  necessitated 
the  appointment  of  an  assistant  minister.  Rev.  W.  H. 
Richards  held  this  position  from  1884  to  1889.  He 
was  succeeded  by  Rev.  J.  A.  Joyce,  from  Cheshunt 

It  is  impossible  here  to  tell  all  the  works  of  faith  and 
labours  of  love  in  which  Mr.  Herschell  was  engaged. 
For  thirty-one  years  he  fulfilled  his  ministry  till  his 
name  became  a  household  word  in  Brixton.  He  con- 
tinued the  charge  of  the  church  till  189 1 ;  after  that 
time  he  lived  in  retirement,  till  the  end  came  on  June 
9,  1904,  in  his  eighty-first  year.  It  may  be  worth 
remark  that  Mr.  Herschell  and  his  brother,  Rev.  L. 
Herschell,  of  Peckham,  were  uncles  of  the  late  Lord 
Chancellor  Herschell. 

After  Mr.  Herschell's  retirement,  Mr.  Joyce  continued 
in  the  pastorate  till  1892.     Then  the  call  to  foreign 


service  became  to  him  imperative  ;  he  offered  himself 
to  the  London  Missionary  Society,  and  is  now  labour- 
ing at  Berhampur  in  North  India. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  W.  J.  Adams,  M.A., 
D.C.L.,  under  whose  attractive  preaching  a  large 
addition  to  the  congregation  took  place.  His  pastorate, 
however,  was  brief;    he  resigned  in  September,  1893. 

The  church  then  called  Rev.  T.  F.  Touzeau  to  the 
vacant  pulpit.  Mr.  Touzeau  had  been  a  student  of 
Hackney  College.  He  accepted  the  charge  of  Melford, 
Suffolk,  in  1870,  where  he  remained  ten  years.  In 
1881  he  was  invited  to  Gravesend,  and  held  the 
pastorate  there  till  the  call  to  Brixton  in  1894.  Mr. 
Touzeau  resigned  the  charge  in  1904,  and  shortly  after- 
wards an  invitation  was  given  to  the  present  minister, 
Rev.  John  Thomas  Peace  of  Cardiff,  who  still  presides 
over  the  church. 



Although  Weybridge  lies  almost  under  the  shadow 
of  Oatlands  Palace,  where  Charles  II.  and  his  Court 
spent  so  much  of  their  time,  it  was  not  without  its 
witnesses  to  Evangelical  truth  and  Independent  prin- 
ciples even  in  those  days. 

Amongst  the  returns  made  to  Archbishop  Sheldon 
was  one  of  a  conventicle  at  Weybridge,  at  the  house  of 
John  Tilly,  about  100  in  number ;  teacher,  Mr.  James. 

The  name  of  Tilly,  or  Tilley,  is  still  prevalent  in  the 
neighbourhood,  very  probably  descendants  of  the  man 
who  dared  to  lend  his  house  for  this  purpose.     It  is 


also  supposed  that  one  of  the  same  family,  either  from 
Weybridge  or  Walton-on-Thames,  went  out  in  the 
Mayflower.  Who  Mr.  James  was  we  are  not  informed. 
Calamy  mentions  three  ejected  ministers  of  that  name  : 
Thomas  James,  ejected  from  Needham;  John  James, 
ejected  from  Flintham,  in  Nottinghamshire,  who  after- 
wards had  a  congregation  at  Wapping ;  and  John 
James,  ejected  from  Ilsley,  in  Berkshire,  who,  after 
being  harassed  by  the  Corporation  Act  in  three  or  four 
places,  and  vainly  tempted  with  offers  of  preferment  to 
conform,  exercised  a  ministry  for  nine  years  at  Staines. 
As  Staines  is  only  a  few  miles  from  Weybridge,  we 
may  be  pretty  certain  that  this  John  James  was  the 
teacher  referred  to.  Later  he  removed  to  London, 
where  he  died  in  July,  1694.  He  is  spoken  of  as  a 
zealous,  practical  preacher,  with  a  good  reputation  for 
piety  and  learning. 

What  became  of  this  little  gathering  we  do  not  know. 
Possibly  after  Mr.  James's  removal  to  London,  it  dis- 
appeared. At  any  rate,  Weybridge  does  not  appear  in 
the  return  of  Nonconformist  churches  in  Surrey  made 
in  1715. 

We  have  no  further  record  of  any  dissenting  services 
here  until  1855,  when  Rev.  A.  E.  Lord,  of  Hersham, 
secured  a  cottage  in  Thames  Street,  and  commenced  a 
meeting.  This  did  not  last ;  after  a  few  Sundays, 
Mr.  Lord  received  notice  to  quit. 

In  i860  the  late  Mr.  Benjamin  Scott,  Chamberlain 
to  the  City  of  London,  came  to  reside  in  Weybridge. 
He  had  just  before  witnessed  in  Ireland  that  wonderful 
religious  awakening,  long  remembered  as  the  Ulster 
revival ;  and  he  was  determined  to  do  something  for  the 
spiritual  blessing  of  the  neighbourhood  where  he  lived. 

There  was  no  service  at  the  parish  church  in  the 


evening,  though  the  public-houses  were  all  full.  He 
immediately  commenced  open-air  services  in  Wey- 
bridge  and  the  surrounding  villages,  in  which  the 
ministers  of  the  neighbouring  Free  Churches  united. 

Much  interest  was  excited,  and  the  need  was  soon 
felt  for  some  room  where  permanent  services  might  be 
held.  Then  Mr.  Alfred  Wilson,  of  Fir  Grove,  came 
forward  and  offered  his  billiard-room,  capable  of  seating 
180  persons,  for  week-night  services.  Fir  Grove,  it 
may  be  mentioned,  was  formerly  the  residence  of 
Captain  Hardy,  of  the  Victory.  The  old  sailor  had 
fitted  up  one  of  the  rooms,  and  shaped  it  with  wood- 
work to  look  like  his  cabin  aboard  ship,  so  that  he 
might  feel  at  home. 

Here  services  were  held  from  i860  to  1862.  The 
congregations  were  mostly  drawn  from  the  middle 
classes,  but  it  was  found  difficult  to  attract  the  poorer 
people.  To  meet  the  convenience  of  these,  Mr.  Scott 
opened  a  music-room,  which  he  had  just  added  to  his 
house,  for  Sunday  evening  services,  and  conducted  the 
first  service  himself  on  New  Year's  Sunday,  1863.  The 
room  was  at  once  filled  to  overflowing,  and  by  April  it 
was  found  necessary  to  remove  to  a  larger  room  capable 
of  seating  200,  which  had  been  provided  in  the  grounds 
of  his  house.  This  room  also  soon  filled.  In  May, 
1864,  an  earnest  band  of  teachers  commenced  a  Sunday 
school.     Two  of  these  still  survive. 

The  same  summer  Mr.  Francois  Baron  came  to 
reside  in  Weybridge,  and  with  his  assistance  Mr.  Scott 
determined  to  commence  services  on  Sunday  mornings 
as  well. 

Mr.  Baron  was  born  in  1823  at  Kingsweston,  in 
Gloucestershire.  His  father,  Mr.  Francis  Benoni 
Baron,  was  an  old  soldier  of  Huguenot  descent,  who 

Congregational  Church,   Weybridge. 

Rev.  F.  Baron. 


had  fought  in  the  French  army  at  Waterloo.  He  was 
captured  by  the  Prussians,  but  contrived  to  escape  and 
reached  Paris  in  safety.  Later,  he  came  to  England 
and  attended  Trevor  Chapel,  Brompton.  Here  young 
Baron  was  converted,  and  at  eighteen  years  of  age  was 
appointed  superintendent  of  the  Gore  Lane  Sunday 
school,  Kensington.  As  a  young  man  he  was  especially 
known  for  his  work  amongst  young  people.  He  pre- 
pared large  numbers  of  pictures  on  temperance  and 
other  subjects,  with  which  he  lectured  in  London  and 
many  parts  of  the  country.  His  services  were  in  con- 
stant demand,  and  these  lectures  led  to  the  formation 
of  the  "  Working  Mens  Educational  Union,"  of  which 
he  was  manager  for  eighteen  years.  In  connection 
with  this  society  no  less  than  300,000  large  and  useful 
pictures  were  sold,  many  reproduced  from  Mr.  Baron's 
own  work. 

Soon  after  Mr.  Baron  came  to  Weybridge,  steps  were 
taken  to  erect  a  permanent  and  suitable  place  of  worship. 
The  work  was  taken  up  with  spirit,  a  site  in  the  Queen's 
Road  was  purchased  and  presented  by  Mr.  Scott,  liberal 
aid  being  also  given  by  Mr.  C.  E.  Smith,  of  Silvermore, 
and  Mr.  W.  Seth  Smith,  of  Holmwood. 

On  July  4,  1864,  Mr.  J.  Remington  Mills  laid 
the  commemoration  stone,  and  Mr.  Scott  gave  an 

On  May  17,  1865,  the  new  church  was  opened,  when 
Rev.  Samuel  Martin,  of  Westminster,  preached.  It 
was  a  handsome  Gothic  structure  with  spire,  capable 
of  seating  350  persons,  and  cost  £2,100.  The  organ, 
which  cost  £400,  was  the  gift  of  Mr.  Scott.  The  same 
generous  donor  has  since  erected  a  commodious  lecture 
hall  and  school-room  at  his  own  expense. 

A  church  of  fifty-five  members  was  now  formed,  and 


Mr.  Baron  was  elected  first  pastor.  He  was  ordained 
May  17,  1865. 

In  1891  Mr.  S.  Gurney  Shepheard  purchased  two 
cottages  in  Oatlands,  and  lent  them  to  the  church.  By 
an  expenditure  of  £80  a  good  hall  was  provided,  and 
successful  work  has  been  carried  on  here.  The  church 
has  since  acquired  the  freehold.  In  1871  a  day  school 
was  opened,  and  is  still  carried  on,  though  lack  of 
accommodation  prohibits  any  increase. 

In  1890,  after  twenty-five  years  of  faithful  service, 
Mr.  Baron  resigned  the  pastorate,  and  removed  to 
Mortlake,  where  for  eight  years  longer  he  laboured 
amidst  a  united  and  devoted  people. 

The  church  was  not  long  in  choosing  a  successor. 
The  same  month  that  Mr.  Baron  left,  Mr.  Horatio 
Pack,  a  student  of  Hackney  College,  was  unanimously 
called  to  the  vacant  pastorate.  He  commenced  his 
ministry  by  taking  the  Watchnight  Service  of  that  year, 
and  still  retains  the  charge. 



Although  the  present  church  at  Battersea  is  not  a 
half-century  old,  Nonconformity  there  is  by  no  means 
of  recent  date.  Among  the  applications  for  licences  in 
1672  is  one  by  Thomas  Harrocks  for  his  house,  dated 
April  20.  Battersea  appears  too  in  the  return  of  Noncon- 
formist churches  in  1 715, as  follows:  "Thomas  Simmons: 
residence  at  Mrs.  Joliff's  in  Clapham,  and  at  Mrs. 
Pearse's,  York  Place,  Battersea." 

The  Evangelical  Magazine  of  1799  speaks  of  a  small 


chapel  being  opened  in  this  village.  We  are  quaintly 
told  that  in  the  morning  Mr.  W.  Ford,  minister,  "  intro- 
duced the  business,"  and  Mr.  Griffiths  "Williams 
preached.  In  the  evening  a  Mr.  Buck  conducted  the 
service.  A  Sunday  school,  too,  was  opened,  and  thirty- 
eight  children  attended. 

What  became  of  this  cause,  or  what  was  its  constitu- 
tion, we  do  not  know.  At  any  rate  there  is  a  gap  now 
of  nearly  seventy  years,  till  1865.  On  the  first  Sunday 
of  that  year  services  were  held  under  the  auspices  of 
the  Surrey  Congregational  Union  in  the  Lammas  Hall. 

For  nine  months  the  services  were  conducted  by 
various  ministers.  Then  it  was  felt  the  time  had  come 
to  appoint  a  settled  pastor.  An  invitation  was  given  to 
Rev.  J.  Scott  James  of  Newport,  Essex,  who  accepted 
it  and  forthwith  began  his  ministry.  Steps  were  now 
taken  to  secure  a  permanent  church.  A  site  was 
granted  by  the  Park  Commissioners  in  a  good  position. 
The  total  cost  was  £3,500,  toward  which  Mr.  Samuel 
Morley  and  the  London  Chapel  Building  Society  each 
promised  £500.  Grafton  Square  Church  also  promised 
£800,  and  about  £1,000  was  collected  from  other  sources. 
The  foundation  stone  was  laid  by  Rev.  J.  G.  Rogers, 
on  September  17,  1866,  and  on  October  1  of  the 
following  year  the  same  gentleman  had  the  pleasure  of 
declaring  the  church  open  for  worship. 

Mr.  Scott  James  held  the  pastorate  for  three  years. 
In  1870  he  accepted  a  call  to  Stratford-on-Avon,  and 
was  succeeded  the  following  year  by  Rev.  Joseph  Shaw, 
from  Boston,  Lincolnshire.  He  resigned  in  1877, 
seeking  a  climate  more  congenial  to  his  son's  health. 

In  1878  Rev.  Thomas  Jarratt  of  Tunstall  was  invited. 
Mr.  Jarratt  was  born  in  Leicester,  where  for  some  years 
he  was  librarian  of  the   Borough   Library.     His  first 


pastorate  was  at  Golden  Hill,  Staffs.,  where  he 
laboured  from  1874  to  1876.  He  then  removed  to 
Tunstall,  where  he  also  remained  two  years.  He  was 
recognised  at  Battersea  on  May  23,  1878.  A  mortgage 
of  £100  still  remained  upon  the  church,  but  Mr.  Jarratt 
set  himself  to  clear  this  away,  and  on  October  21,  1883, 
a  meeting  was  held  to  celebrate  the  extinction  of  the 

The  removal  of  the  debt  was,  as  is  often  the  case, 
the  signal  for  fresh  enterprise.  The  schoolroom  was 
enlarged  to  nearly  double  its  size,  and  class-rooms 
were  formed  by  partitions.  Altogether  nearly  £1,000 
were  spent,  and  in  September,  1887,  the  building  was 
reopened  under  the  presidency  of  General  Sir  Robert 
Phayre,  K.C.B. 

Further  outlay  was  immediately  required.  The 
public  authorities  ordered  the  cutting  out  of  the 
decayed  stone  of  the  church ;  the  spire  also  was  found 
to  be  unsafe  and  had  to  be  removed.  These  repairs, 
with  interior  improvements,  involved  an  additional  cost 

of  £530. 

For  twenty-four  years  Mr.  Jarratt  faithfully  served  the 
church  and  neighbourhood,  a  neighbourhood  that 
became  densely  populated  as  the  years  went  on.  On 
Friday,  November  7,  1902,  whilst  addressing  a  meeting 
of  crippled  children  in  Battersea  Town  Hall,  he  was 
seized  with  paralysis,  and  passed  to  his  rest  the  follow- 
ing Friday,  esteemed  and  beloved  by  all  who  knew 

For  sixteen  months  the  church  remained  without  a 
pastor,  when  in  February,  1904,  an  invitation  was  given 
to  the  Rev.  J.  Bertram  Rudall. 

Mr.  Rudall  was  educated  at  the  Western  College. 
His   first    pastorate   was  at  Batter  Street,   Plymouth, 


where  he  remained  four  years.  In  1897  he  undertook 
the  charge  of  Rowland  Hill's  old  chapel  in  Wotton- 
under-Edge,  Glos. 

Under  his  ministry  at  Bridge  Road  the  church  is 
extending  the  scope  of  its  work.  Long-needed  altera- 
tions and  additions  have  been  made  which  will  give  the 
people  far  greater  facilities  for  service  in  a  district 
where  aggressive  work  is  sorely  needed.  These  addi- 
tions include  an  infant  school,  class-rooms,  deacons' 
vestry,  with  a  new  entrance  to  the  church.  An  entirely 
new  heating  apparatus  and  the  electric  light  are 
amongst  the  improvements.  The  cost  is  estimated  at 
£1,300,  but  the  people  are  facing  it  with  a  good  heart, 
and  will  doubtless  carry  it  through  in  the  same  way 
that  they  have  carried  through  previous  efforts. 



This  church  is  the  permanent  memorial  of  one  of  the 
greatest  of  modern  Independents,  the  Rev.  J.  Baldwin 
Brown.  The  account  of  Claylands  Chapel  records  his 
earlier  ministry.  It  was  only  after  twenty-three  years 
of  work  there  that  the  extension  of  London  southwards 
suggested  to  his  friends  the  erection  of  a  larger  building 
in  the  midst  of  the  rapidly  filling  suburb  of  Brixton, 
as  a  more  adequate  and  influential  sphere  for  the  prose- 
cution of  his  work.  The  union  between  church  and 
pastor  had  become  so  intimate  that  Mr.  Brown  only 
consented  to  the  new  departure  when  it  was  urged  as 


a  fitting  commemoration  by  the  church  of  his  many 
years  of  labour.  In  the  words  of  the  "  Memorial 
Sketch"  by  his  widow  :  "  The  enterprise  had  been  under- 
taken and  carried  out  entirely  by  his  old  congregation, 
most  of  whom  accompanied  him  on  his  removal."  This 
was  a  happy  inauguration  for  the  new  church. 

The  foundation  stone  was  laid  January  21,  1869,  by 
Mr.  J.  Kemp-Welch,  J. P.  The  building  was  erected  in 
the  Early  English  style,  and  designed  to  accommodate 
1,150  worshippers.  There  is  the  ring  of  Mr.  Brown's 
own  voice  in  the  one  doctrinal  clause  of  the  trust  deed, 
which  directs  that  the  minister  of  this  church  "shall 
hold,  teach,  preach  and  maintain  the  Gospel  of  Jesus 
Christ,  the  Son  of  God."  The  constitution  of  the 
church  declares  that  "  it  knows  no  ecclesiastical 
authority  outside  itself,  but  regards  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ  as  its  immediate  head  and  ever-present  Lord. 
On  this  very  ground  it  rejoices  in  the  bonds  of  a  true 
unity  and  spiritual  fellowship  with  all  who  love  the 
Saviour.  It  elects  its  own  officers,  determines  its  own 
worship  and  action,  and  regards  the  New  Testament 
as  the  only  statute-book  of  the  Christian  Kingdom." 

In  November,  1871,  soon  after  the  opening  of  the 
new  church,  the  silver  wedding  of  pastor  and  people  was 
celebrated.  Under  the  chairmanship  of  the  venerable 
Thomas  Binney  a  great  gathering  assembled  to  do 
honour  to  Baldwin  Brown.  Two  thousand  pounds 
had  been  subscribed  as  a  testimonial  to  him,  but  at  his 
express  request  the  whole  amount  was  devoted  to  the 
reduction  of  the  debt  upon  the  church  building. 
Baldwin  Brown  was  pre-eminently  a  prophet.  Under 
his  leadership  the  church  became  identified  with  the 
cause  of  progressive  religious  thought  and  activity. 
His  mind  and  heart  were  open  to    receive  what    the 

%  £1 

Bkixton  Congregational  Church. 

Dr.   Moffat. 

Moffat  Institute. 


Spirit  said  unto  the  churches,  and  he  was  "  not  dis- 
obedient to  the  heavenly  vision."  Fearless  of  men,  his 
testimony  sometimes  won  for  him  distrust  and  isolation. 
Strange  as  it  now  seems  to  record  it,  men  of  our 
denomination,  who  might  naturally  have  been  presumed 
to  sympathise  with  the  central  principles  that  had  made 
and  shaped  independency,  stood  aloof  from  him  and 
deprecated  what  they  were  pleased  to  term  his  "  negative 
theology."  It  passes  the  wit  of  our  generation  to  sur- 
mise wherein  they  found  the  negativeness  of  Baldwin 
Brown.  He  had  come  under  the  influence  of  Macleod 
Campbell,  F.  D.  Maurice,  and  especially  of  A.  J.  Scott ; 
but  he  was  as  sincere  and  positive  a  believer  as  Charles 
Spurgeon  himself.  The  truth  of  the  Divine  Fatherhood 
came  to  him  with  all  the  force  and  freshness  of  a  new 
revelation,  and  he  laid  it  at  his  hearers'  hearts  as  the 
cardinal  principle  of  our  Lord's  message.  A  true 
minister,  valorous,  intrepid,  sanguine,  his  face  was  ever 
towards  the  dawn  ;  and  there  is  not  a  palmary  subject 
of  recent  theological  controversy  on  which  before  the 
time  he  has  not  left  a  lucid  utterance,  a  sagacious 

As  the  church  grew  and  was  strengthened,  it  sought 
by  many  agencies  to  extend  sympathetic  help  to  the  poor. 
The  Moffat  Institute  was  founded  in  1875  as  a  centre 
of  unsectarian  work  in  the  midst  of  the  most  densely 
peopled  district  of  Lambeth.  The  venerable  Dr. 
Moffat,  the  dauntless,  unwearying  missionary  of  the 
Love  of  God  to  South  Africa,  was  spending  the  evening 
of  his  life  in  South  London  and  had  attached  himself  to 
Brixton  Independent  Church.  The  new  mission  was 
named  in  his  honour. 

In  1878  Mr.  Brown  was  called  by  his  brethren  to  the 
chair  of  the  Congregational  Union,  and  in  that  capacity 


delivered  two  addresses — "  Our  Theology  in  relation 
to  the  Intellectual  Movement  of  our  Times  "  and  "  The 
Perfect  Law  of  Liberty " — which  are  of  permanent 

While  throwing  himself  with  ardour  into  the  adminis- 
tration of  the  church,  Mr.  Brown  issued  numerous 
works  which  secured  for  him  a  wider  ministry  than  can 
be  afforded  by  any  single  congregation.  The  most 
important  of  these  are,  "  The  First  Principles  of 
Ecclesiastical  Truth,"  1871,  "  The  Higher  Life," 
1874  ;  "  The  Doctrine  of  Annihilation  in  the  Light  of 
the  Gospel  of  Love,"  1875  ;  "  The  Battle  and  Burden 
of  Life,"  1875  ;  and  "  The  Home,"  1883. 

It  is  impossible  here  to  trace  all  the  directions  in 
which  his  energies  found  outlet.  The  public  welfare, 
literature,  lectures,  social  problems,  the  press — all  these 
might  be  made  as  many  headings  under  which  chapters 
might  easily  be  written.  His  sympathies  were  radiantly 
wide,  his  interests  multiform.  Among  such  multitu- 
dinous labours  it  is  not  strange  that  nervous  exhaustion 
revealed  from  time  to  time  the  undue  strain  upon  his 
constitution.  At  first  slight  rest  and  change  of  scene 
sufficed  for  recuperation,  but  in  1881  he  gladly  took 
advantage  of  the  six  months'  holiday  which  his  solicitous 
people  pressed  upon  him.  He  resumed  work  thereafter 
with  his  accustomed  zest,  only  to  find  himself  again 
under  the  harsh  necessity  of  complete  cessation  from  toil. 
On  the  eve  of  a  visit  to  the  Engadine,  just  after  having 
penned  some  words  of  farewell  greeting  to  his  church, 
this  great-hearted  servant  of  his  Lord  was  suddenly 
called  to  his  reward,  June  23,  1884.  His  body  was  laid 
to  rest  in  Norwood  Cemetery. 

After  an  interval  of  two  years  the  church  invited 
Dr.  J.  F.  Stevenson  to  fill  the  vacant  pulpit,  and  he 


began  his  all  too  brief  ministry  in  December,  il 
As  Principal  of  the  Congregational  College  of  Canada 
in  Montreal  he  had  rendered  distinguished  service 
which  assured  him  a  ready  welcome  in  this  country. 
Returning  to  England  at  the  height  of  his  reputa- 
tion, he  had  to  face  a  multitude  of  claims  for  service 
in  all  parts  of  the  country,  which  the  kindness  of  his 
heart  made  it  difficult  for  him  to  resist.  All  this, 
added  to  the  multifarious  duties  of  an  onerous  pas- 
torate, soon  proved  too  great  a  tax  upon  his  strength.  He 
had  rendered  double  service  in  Canada  as  preacher  and 
professor,  and  even  there  had  experienced  premoni- 
tory symptoms  of  cerebral  trouble.  "  The  iron  band 
around  his  head "  (as  he  expressed  it)  recurred  with 
more  than  its  former  rigour,  and  the  physicians  more 
than  once  had  to  warn  him  of  coming  mischief  unless 
he  limited  his  activities.  At  last  peremptory  orders 
were  laid  upon  him  to  desist  from  all  work.  He 
preached  for  the  last  time  on  Easter  Sunday,  1890. 
His  resignation  of  the  pastorate  followed  immediately. 
His  wife  tells  how  "  a  member  of  the  congregation, 
going  into  the  church  one  morning  that  sad  week,  saw 
the  doctor  standing  in  front  of  the  pulpit  with  tears 
running  down  his  cheeks.  He  had  taken  farewell  of 
his  church  and  his  work  for  ever.  So  he  entered  into 
the  cloud,  a  cloud  which  slowly  deepened  round  him 
until  the  end."  In  the  summer  a  voyage  to  Canada 
was  undertaken  in  hope  of  relief  from  distressful  pain, 
but  the  suffering  increased.  He  lingered  until  February, 
1891,  and  his  funeral  service  was  held  in  the  church  that 
had  been  built  for  him — Emmanuel  Church,  Montreal. 
He  was  minister  of  Brixton  Independent  Church  for 
little  more  than  three  years,  but  the  impress  of  his 
personality  is  still   deep  upon    its  life    and  work.      In 



1895  a  memorial  window  was  placed  in  the  north 
transept,  having  for  its  subject  "  The  Good  Shepherd." 
An  interregnum  of  about  eighteen  months  followed 
the  resignation  of  Dr.  Stevenson,  and  it  was  only  the 
fidelity  of  capable  officers  that  enabled  the  church  to 
steer  safely  through  troubled  waters.  In  October, 
1891,  Rev.  Bernard  J.  Snell,  M.A.,  B.Sc,  became 
pastor,  which  office  he  still  holds.  He  had  previously 
held  pastorates  at  Newcastle-on-Tyne  and  Salford. 
One  of  the  most  gracious  developments  during  his 
ministry  has  been  the  consolidation  of  the  Baldwin 
Brown  Convalescent  Home  for  the  Sick  Poor  at  Heme 
Bay.  This  memorial  work  began  in  1888,  when  a 
house  was  rented  at  that  pleasant  seaside  resort ;  and 
has  grown  so  happily  that  the  freehold  of  a  terrace  of 
three  houses  has  been  purchased,  and  the  whole  has 
been  remodelled  for  the  uses  of  the  Home.  Year  by 
year  over  300  needy  convalescents  from  all  parts  of  the 
metropolis  are  entertained,  all  of  them  for  a  fortnight 
or  more,  as  "  guests  of  the  church,"  under  the  care  of 
competent  nurses.  This  Memorial  Home  has  been 
placed  on  a  permanent  basis  of  beneficence  by  the 
unremitting  assiduity  of  Mr.  and  Mrs   W.  H.  Foster. 

Another  development  has  been  the  purchase  of 
premises  near  the  church  for  social  work  among  the 
young  men  and  young  women  who  increasingly  make 
Brixton  their  temporary  residence.  At  a  cost  of  £2,000 
the  Church  House  was  furnished  in  1893,  and  became 
the  centre  of  many  benignant  agencies.  In  1901,  when 
extensive  additions  were  made  at  the  rear  of  the  church, 
it  was  deemed  advisable  to  transfer  the  work  to  premises 
in  juxtaposition  to  the  main  building.  These  improve- 
ments were  made  possible  by  the  raising  of  a  further 
sum  of   £5,000,  and  included  the  enlargement  of  the 

R]  v.  Jas.   Ii  mm  in   Brown,  Brixj  on 

Baldwin   Brown  Convalescent  Home,  Herne  Bay 


church,  the  provision  of  church  parlours  and  class- 
rooms. The  additional  cost  of  the  chancel  was  borne 
by  Lady  Tate,  in  memory  of  her  husband,  Sir  Henry 
Tate,  Bart.,  who  was  a  worshipper  here  during  the  last 
years  of  his  life.  Three  years  later  the  same  lady 
presented  a  splendid  four-manual  organ. 

In  1902  a  window,  having  for  its  subject  "  Faith, 
Hope  and  Charity,"  was  placed  in  the  south  transept 
at  the  charge  of  the  ladies  of  the  congregation,  in 
loving  memory  of  Mrs.  Snell,  whose  sudden  death  was 
a  great  loss  to  the  philanthropic  agencies  of  the  church 
and  a  severe  blow  to  the  pastor.  The  vestibule  has 
been  beautified  by  a  memorial  of  Dr.  Moffatt. 

In  1896,  in  development  of  the  Moffatt  Mission,  it 
was  decided  to  purchase  the  freehold  of  Esher  Street 
Chapel,  Vauxhall,  a  building  that  was  practically 
derelict,  and  likely  soon  to  cease  to  be  a  place  of 
worship.  At  a  charge  of  £"3,000  the  premises  were 
secured  and  adapted  to  the  uses  of  ever-enlarging  work 
in  that  thickly-populated  neighbourhood.  From  time 
to  time  improvements  have  been  made  in  the  structure, 
but  such  is  the  pressure  of  the  numbers  of  young 
people  associated  therewith  that  still  the  cry  is  for 
more  accommodation.  The  Moffatt  Sunday  School 
has  over  a  thousand  scholars,  while  the  Sunday  School 
opened  at  the  church  only  in  recent  years  is  steadily 
increasing  in  numbers  and  influence. 

Thus  "  the  Red  Church,"  as  it  is  colloquially  called 
in  the  district,  worthily  maintains  the  high  traditions 
of  its  founder,  and  with  some  measure  of  success 
endeavours  to  carry  on  the  work  of  the  Great  Master. 

Y  2 





Fifty  years  ago  Wimbledon  was  a  village  pictur- 
esquely situated  between  the  brow  of  the  hill  that  bears 
its  name  and  the  great  common  that  stretches  away 
toward  Kingston  and  Putney.  It  has  been  the  home 
of  a  succession  of  notable  people,  among  them  Lord 
Burghley,  and  Sarah,  Duchess  of  Marlborough,  and  Leigh 
Hunt.  Its  wide,  breezy  common,  with  its  far  view  over 
Surrey  hills,  its  stretches  of  yellow  furze,  which  Hunt 
called  "  a  golden  undulation,  ...  a  veritable  field  of 
cloth  of  gold,"  make  it  one  of  the  most  delightful 
places  of  residence  anywhere  near  London. 

Gradually  Wimbledon  crept  down  the  hill  into  the 
valley,  where  the  main  line  of  the  South-Western  runs, 
till  a  new  town  sprang  up  that  for  size  and  business 
importance  soon  eclipsed  the  old  village  above. 

By  the  year  1871  it  was  felt  that  a  Congregational 
church  ought  to  be  formed  to  meet  the  spiritual  needs 
of  this  growing  district.  Accordingly  Revs.  A.  Buzacott 
and  W.  H.  S.  Aubrey,  the  secretaries  of  the  Surrey 
Union,  waited  upon  Rev.  J.  E.  Tumner,  who  had  success- 
fully built  up  a  church  at  Leytonstone,  and  asked  him 
if  he  would  undertake  similar  work  at  Wimbledon. 
Mr.  Tumner  had  just  received  a  unanimous  invitation 
to  a  prosperous  church  elsewhere,  but  after  long  and 
anxious  consideration  he  decided  to  go  to  Wimbledon. 

W'oKii.i     Road  Church,  Wimbledon. 


The  only  place  that  could  be  obtained  for  worship 
was  a  large  room  in  the  Dog  and  Fox  Tavern ;  and  to 
reach  this  they  had  at  first  to  go  through  the  public  bar. 

Mr.  Tumner  began  work  on  January  14,  1872,  with  a 
congregation  of  twelve  adults  and  fourteen  children. 
But  God  prospered  them,  and  the  work  grew. 

The  first  thing  was  to  make  an  entrance  direct  to  the 
room.  A  little  later,  Mr.  Day,  an  old  friend  of  Mr. 
Tumner,  promised  £100  towards  building  a  church  if 
Mr.  Tumner  would  promise  to  be  the  pastor.  The 
promise  was  given  forthwith. 

Steps  were  at  once  taken  to  secure  a  site,  but  they 
were  thwarted  and  opposed  on  every  side.  At  length  a 
plot  of  ground  was  purchased  by  auction  at  a  London 
sale  ;  and  shortly  afterwards  an  iron  church  was  erected, 
and  paid  for  without  difficulty,  Messrs.  Day  and  Crouch 
giving  the  freehold. 

The  next  step  was  to  form  a  church.  For  this  pur- 
pose a  meeting  was  held  at  the  house  of  Mr.  Haddon, 
St.  George's  Road.  Rev.  J.  Pillans,  of  Camberwell, 
presided  ;  and,  the  fellowship  being  constituted,  the 
members  invited  Mr.  Tumner  to  become  the  first 

On  July  22,  1873,  a  meeting  was  held  at  the  minister's 
house  to  form  a  Sunday  school.  It  was  opened  on 
Sunday,  August  2,  with  twenty-five  children.  The  first 
superintendent  was  Mr.  R.  B.  Ling.  "  Three  of  the 
teachers,  Mrs.  Fladgate,  Miss  Adams,  and  Miss  E. 
Adams,  have  classes  to  this  day."  The  school  quickly 
grew,  and  by  1878  there  were  203  names  on  the  books. 

In  1876  the  buildings  were  enlarged  by  the  addition 
of  transepts  and  by  the  erection  of  a  lecture  hall  and 
vestry.  At  the  reopening  services  on  Wednesday, 
September  20,  1876,  Rev.  E.  Paxton  Hood  preached. 


Mr.  Tumner  spent  eight  useful  and  happy  years  at 
Wimbledon.  At  the  end  of  that  time  he  felt  that  a 
large  permanent  church  had  now  become  a  necessity. 
This  was  an  undertaking  which  he  considered  should 
be  left  to  a  younger  man.  He  therefore  sent  in  his 
resignation,  which  was  only  accepted  with  great 
reluctance.  He  has  since  lived  in  retirement  at  Park- 
stone  and  Weymouth. 

At  the  close  of  1880  Rev.  W.  C.  Talbot  was  invited 
to  the  pastorate.  Mr.  Talbot  was  a  student  of  Airedale 
College,  and  for  two  years  had  held  the  charge  of 
Lower  Chapel,  Dai  wen.  He  soon  set  himself  to  the 
task  of  raising  a  permanent  building.  At  a  meeting  of 
the  congregation  early  in  1883  it  was  reported  that 
£2,400  had  been  subscribed, and  two  gentlemen  promised 
to  double  all  that  was  raised. 

With  this  incentive  the  work  speedily  went  forward, 
and  on  July  19  the  foundation  stone  was  laid  by  Rev. 
J.  G.  Rogers,  of  Clapham.  The  following  spring,  April 
n,  1884,  the  church  was  opened.  It  is  described  as  of 
early  geometric  Gothic  style,  with  accommodation  for 
820,  which  can  be  increased  to  1,100. 

Rev.  J.  G.  Rogers  preached  in  the  morning  and  pre- 
sided at  the  luncheon.  Dr.  Allon  was  to  have  preached 
in  the  evening,  but  in  his  absence  the  Rev.  C.  Talbot, 
father  of  the  minister,  took  the  service.  £265  was 
received  during  the  day,  making  nearly  £4,000  out  of 
£6,000  required. 

Meanwhile  the  cause  grew  and  prospered.  The  school 
greatly  increased.  The  scholars  now  numbered  nearly 
400,  and  for  lack  of  accommodation  the  Infant  Class 
was  obliged  to  meet  in  the  Drill  Hall. 

In  1888  Mr.  Talbot  resigned  to  take  the  oversight  of 
Buckland  Chapel,  Portsmouth.      Here  he  remained  till 


1902,  when  he  removed  to  Horsham,  Sussex,  where  he 
still  labours. 

The  following  year  Rev.  D.  Bloomfield  James,  of 
Addiscombe,  accepted  an  invitation  to  the  vacant 
pulpit.  He  remained  until  1893.  Unfortunately 
differences  of  opinion  arose  which  resulted  in  Mr. 
James's  resignation.  Some  of  the  members  left  with 
him,  and  a  new  church  was  formed  where  Mr.  James 
ministered  for  some  years. 

Rev.  Frederick  Hall  was  the  next  pastor  at  Worple 
Road  :  he  also  was  trained  at  Airedale,  and  had  held 
pastorates  at  Thornton  and  Heckmondwike.  He 
remained  at  Wimbledon  from  1893  till  1898,  when 
he  removed  to  Scarborough.  New  schoolrooms  were 
built  during  his  ministry,  which  were  opened  in  1897. 

In  1899  the  church  called  the  Rev.  William  Skinner, 
of  Forest  Gate,  and  there  seemed  every  prospect  of  a 
long  and  useful  ministry.  Mr.  Skinner  was  a  man  of 
great  spiritual  power  and  was  ably  seconded  in  his 
work  by  his  wife,  an  indefatigable  worker  and  an  able 
speaker.  But  during  his  summer  holiday  in  August, 
1901,  he  was  prostrated  by  illness  from  which  he  never 
recovered.  After  long  rest  he  attempted  to  resume  his 
ministry,  but  it  was  found  impossible,  and  shortly  after- 
wards he  resigned.  He  moved  back  to  Forest  Gate 
where  he  died  on  December  4,  1904. 

In  1904  an  invitation  was  given  to  the  Rev.  Gilbert 
T.  Sadler,  B.A.,  LL.B.,  of  Wrexham.  Mr.  Sadler,  who 
is  the  son  of  the  late  Rev.  G.  Sadler,  of  Amoy,  was 
educated  at  Mansfield  College.  He  graduated  at 
London  and  Oxford  and  settled  as  assistant  minister 
to  the  Rev.  J.  D.  Jones,  M.A.,  B.D.,  at  Lincoln,  in 
1895.  Two  years  later  he  removed  to  Wrexham,  where 
he  remained  seven  years. 


This  church,  in  addition  to  the  work  already  referred 
to  at  Merton,  is  carrying  on  an  energetic  mission  at 
Dundonald  Hall. 



Milton  Hall  was  one  of  the  first  attempts  in  London 
to  do  special  work  for  the  masses  of  the  people  who 
would  not  come  into  the  ordinary  places  of  worship. 
Dr.  Rogers  had  an  interview  with  Mr.  Samuel  Morley 
and  laid  the  proposal  before  him.  Mr.  Morley  never 
said  a  word,  but  went  to  his  desk  and  wrote  out  a 
cheque  for  £500.  A  site  was  secured,  and  in  1873  the 
building  was  opened.  The  work  was  for  a  time  carried 
on  under  the  direction  of  Grafton  Square  Church. 

In  1887  Mr.  Wm.  Daniel  was  placed  in  charge  of 
the  mission.  He  removed  to  Rouel  Road,  Bermondsey, 
in  1891,  and,  the  church  at  Grafton  Square  finding 
some  difficulty  in  continuing  the  superintendence,  the 
Hall  was  handed  over  to  the  London  Congregational 
Union.  The  Union  then  appointed  Mr.  E.  Cook  as 
missioner,  and  he  for  some  time  carried  on  a  thoroughly 
successful  work.  After  his  removal  it  was  decided  to 
again  place  the  enterprise  under  the  care  of  some 
neighbouring  church,  and  Mr.  Jarratt  volunteered  to 
work  it  from  Battersea  Bridge  Road.  For  the  last 
seven  years  this  arrangement  has  continued.  At 
present  Mr.  Vennell,  an  agent  of  the  London  City 
Mission,  is  employed.  There  is  a  flourishing  Sunday 
school,  and  many  useful  societies  are  carried  on. 


Merton   Hall. 




When  Lavender  Hill  was  still  a  place  of  rural  beauty, 
and  old  historic  houses  stood  where  dense  masses  of 
people  now  dwell,  the  London  Congregational  Union, 
the  Chapel  Building  Society,  and  Grafton  Square 
Church  co-operated  in  securing  a  site  for  a  church. 

The  services  were  first  held  in  a  hall  on  the  Shaftes- 
bury Park  Estate,  a  large  district  that  had  been  recently 
laid  out  for  development.  A  site  for  a  new  church  was 
purchased  by  the  London  Congregational  Union  at  a 
cost  of  £1,000,  and  the  foundation  stones  of  the  new 
lecture  hall  and  schoolroom  were  laid  on  Saturday, 
July  27,  1878,  by  J.  Kemp  Welch,  Esq.  Rev.  R.  W. 
Dale  preached  in  the  morning  and  Dr.  Raleigh  in  the 
evening.  The  superintendence  of  the  church  was 
undertaken  by  Dr.  Rogers  until  a  permanent  minister 
could  be  appointed. 

The  following  year  Rev.  Richard  Buhner  accepted  a 
hearty  invitation  to  the  pastorate,  and  commenced  his 
ministry  on  October  2,  1881.  Mr.  Bulmer  was  born  at 
Boston  Spa,  Yorkshire,  in  January,  1834.  He  com- 
menced life  as  a  schoolmaster,  and  for  two  years  was 
assistant  master  at  Silcoates  School.  He  was  brought 
up  a  Wesleyan,  but  at  Silcoates  became  a  Congrega- 
tionalist  and  decided  to  enter  the  ministry.  After 
studying  at  Airedale  College,  he  accepted  an  invitation 
to  Walsall,  and  subsequently  held  pastorates  at  Reading 
(Castle  Street),  Torquay,  and  Whitby.  The  climate 
at   Whitby  proving  too  severe  for  his  constitution,  he 


removed  to  London,  and  after  a  short  stay  at  Dalston 
took  charge  of  the  new  movement  at  Lavender  Hill. 

The  following  month,  November  24,  1881,  a  meeting 
was  held  to  form  a  Christian  church.  Rev.  J.  Guinness 
Rogers,  B.A.,  presided,  assisted  by  Rev.  Andrew 
Mearns  and  Mr.  Marten  Smith.  After  a  devotional 
service  Mr.  Rogers  gave  an  able  address  on  "  Church 
Fellowship."  Mr.  C.  Pressland,  the  secretary  to  the 
committee  of  management,  followed  with  a  short  state- 
ment in  which  he  stated  that  seventy-five  applications 
for  church  fellowship  had  already  been  received.  Mr. 
Rogers  then  read  the  Declaration  of  Faith,  and  called 
upon  those  who  desired  to  form  the  church  to  show 
their  assent  by  holding  up  the  right  hand.  The  names 
were  then  enrolled,  and  the  church  was  declared  formed. 
Mr.  Bulmer  was  unanimously  chosen  pastor,  and  after 
hymn  and  prayer  the  meeting  closed. 

Mr.  Bulmer  soon  showed  himself  well  qualified  for 
the  task  of  consolidating  and  building  up  a  new  church. 
For  five  years  he  ministered  with  unsparing  devotion, 
and  himself  generously  contributed  to  the  building  fund. 
The  memorial  stone  of  the  permanent  building  was  laid 
by  Evan  Spicer,  Esq.,  on  May  5,  1883,  and  the  church 
was  opened  in  February,  1884,  with  sermons  by  Revs. 
J.  G.  Rogers  and  H.  Allon.  The  total  cost  was 

The  work  was  progressing  in  a  most  satisfactory 
manner,  when,  suddenly,  on  Sunday,  December  5, 
1886,  as  he  was  preparing  for  the  morning  service,  Mr. 
Bulmer  was  struck  down  by  paralysis.  He  never  re- 
gained consciousness,  and  a  few  hours  later  passed 

Mr.  Bulmer  was  a  man  of  singularly  gentle  nature. 
He   is  spoken  of  as  one  of  the   most  lovable  of  men, 

BALHAM  331 

gentle  almost  to  a  fault,  a  man  of  genuine  humility, 
whose  too  modest  estimate  of  himself  interfered  with 
full  acknowledgment  by  the  world.  A  mural  decoration 
in  the  apse  of  the  church  perpetuates  his  memory,  and 
bears  the  fit  inscription  "  Thy  gentleness  hath  made  me 

Mr.  Bulmer's  painfully  sudden  removal  left  the  church 
for  some  months  without  a  minister.  The  vacant  pulpit 
was  supplied  till  April,  1887,  when  Rev.  Herbert  Arnold, 
formerly  of  Albion  Church,  Hull,  accepted  a  unanimous 
call  to  the  pastorate. 

In  1894  a  private  house  was  acquired  for  the  Sunday 
school  at  a  cost  of  £1,000,  including  furnishing. 

Mr.  Arnold  ministered  with  energy  and  acceptance 
till  the  spring  of  1898,  when  he  accepted  a  call  to 
Southernhay  Church,  Exeter.  He  has  now  retired 
from  the  active  ministry. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  R.  Cynon  Lewis,  of  Luton. 
He  was  recognised  in  February,  1899.  At  his  recognition 
above  forty  members  of  his  former  church  attended. 
In  1900  the  church  was  completed  by  the  erection  of 
a  spire,  and  at  the  same  time  the  whole  of  the  buildings 
were  re-decorated.     The  cost  was  about  £1,500. 

In  April,  1904,  Mr.  Lewis  removed  to  Weston-super- 
Mare,  and  the  following  year  an  invitation  was  given  to 
the  present  minister,  Rev.  J.  Hilton  Stowell,  M.A.,  of 
Aylesbury,  who  is  carrying  on  the  varied  work  of  the 
church  with  great  energy. 


The  first  step  towards  the  foundation  of  a  Congrega- 
tional church  at  Balham  was  taken  at  a  private  meeting 


of  a  few  resident  Congregationalists  at  the  house  of 
Mr.  John  Hughes,  Bedford  Hill.  These  formed  them- 
selves into  a  committee  under  the  presidency  of  the 
Rev.  John  Gilbert,  a  retired  Congregational  minister, 
who  was  much  interested  in  the  question  of  church 
extension,  Mr.  Hughes  being  elected  the  first  secretary 
of  the  committee.  The  next  meeting  took  place  a  few 
months  later  at  the  house  of  Dr.  Hilder,  a  prominent 
medical  man  in  the  district,  who,  during  the  early  period 
of  the  church,  gave  valuable  service  in  many  ways. 
There  were  present,  in  addition  to  these  gentlemen, 
Mr.  de  Selincourt,  Mr.  Welby,  and  Mr.  W.  Collard. 
Efforts  were  made  to  secure  a  well-situated  plot  of 
ground  in  the  High  Road,  which  was  likely  in  course 
of  time  to  become  the  centre  of  a  large  population  ;  and 
a  grant  was  obtained  from  the  Chapel  Building  Fund 
towards  its  purchase,  amounting  to  £300,  with  the 
promise  of  a  loan  of  the  same  amount  free  of  interest. 
A  further  grant  of  £150  was  made,  with  a  loan  to  the 
same  amount,  towards  the  erection  of  a  lecture-hall  or 
schoolroom.  Mr.  de  Selincourt  offered  the  use  of  a 
large  room  at  his  house  at  Wandsworth  Lodge,  Upper 
Tooting,  for  interim  services  ;  and  on  May  20,  1878, 
Dr.  Raleigh  preached  an  inaugural  sermon.  Services 
were  continued  by  prominent  London  ministers  for 
about  two  years,  and  on  April  15,  1880,  Rev.  Andrew 
Mearns  presided  over  a  meeting  at  which  the  church 
was  formally  constituted,  fifty-six  friends  signing  the 
roll  of  membership.  The  lecture  hall  was  completed 
and  opened  for  public  worship  on  May  6  of  the  same 
year.  Here  the  services  were  continued,  and  a  steadily- 
increasing  congregation  was  gathered  together.  Within 
two  years  it  was  felt  that  the  time  had  come  for  securing 
a  pastor,  and  an  invitation  was  given  to  Rev.  Jonathan 

BALHAM  333 

Brierley,  B.A.,  of  Leytonstone,  who  commenced  his 
ministry  in  September,  1882.  Mr.  Brierley's  work  was 
growingly  successful  from  the  beginning  ;  and,  aided  by 
a  devoted  diaconate  and  an  attached  people,  measures 
were  pushed  rapidly  forward  for  the  erection  of  the 
permanent  church  building.  Another  two  years'  hard 
work  sufficed  for  this,  and  on  October  1,  1884,  a  large 
and  commodious  building  was  opened  for  public  worship. 
The  style  was  early  English,  including  a  wide  nave, 
supported  by  lofty  stone  columns,  somewhat  shallow 
transepts,  and  a  finely  designed  apse.  The  building  was 
so  constructed  as  to  be  ready  for  the  insertion  of 
galleries  at  some  future  time.  A  mistake  was  made  in 
not  including  these  galleries  in  the  original  structure, 
for  the  high  roof  and  the  unbroken  surface  of  the  east 
wall  created  an  obstinate  and  harassing  echo  which 
greatly  tried  preacher  and  congregation.  Largely  owing 
to  this  cause,  Mr.  Brierley's  health,  which  had  not  been 
robust  for  years,  gave  way.  In  March,  1885,  an  attack 
of  nervous  prostration  forced  a  long  period  of  rest  upon 
him,  and  in  1887,  greatly  to  the  sorrow  of  himself  and 
of  his  people,  he  felt  obliged  to  resign  his  pastorate. 
The  church  meantime  had  been  fortunate  in  securing 
the  partial  services  of  Dr.  Elmslie,  a  prominent  Presby- 
terian divine,  who  preached  at  the  evening  services, 
while  Mr.  Brierley  took  the  morning  services  as  often  as 
his  health  permitted.  Dr.  Elmslie  continued  to  serve 
the  church  occasionally  till  his  premature  and  greatly 
lamented  death  in  1889.  An  interregnum  of  four  and  a 
half  years  followed  the  conclusion  of  Mr.  Brierley's 
ministry,  during  which  the  pulpit  was  served  by  many 
of  the  leading  men  of  the  denomination. 

It  may  be  of  interest  here  to  mention  that  though 
Mr.  Brierley  never  resumed  the  settled  pastorate,  his 


breakdown,  which  seemed  at  first  so  great  a  calamity, 
has  become  a  blessing  in  disguise  to  a  countless  multi- 
tude, to  whom,  as  a  brilliant  writer  on  the  staff  of  the 
Christian  World,  he  has  since  spoken  over  the  initials 
"J.  B."  His  stirring  articles  on  all  manner  of  subjects 
of  religious,  social,  and  philosophical  interest,  have  for 
many  years  been  a  leading  feature  in  the  world  of 
religious  journalism  ;  and  have  in  their  reprinted  form 
reached  a  still  wider  audience  among  readers  of  all 
denominations,  while  his  voice  is  still  heard  occasionally 
in  our  pulpits. 

The  next  minister  was  the  Rev.  Thomas  Simon, 
previously  of  Leicester,  who  continued  to  serve  the 
church  from  June,  1891,  till  the  summer  of  1896,  when 
he  removed  to  Stowmarket.  Another  interregnum 
followed  of  nearly  two  years,  when  the  Rev.  E.  Griffith 
Jones,  B.A.,  of  Mount  View,  Stroud  Green,  accepted 
the  pastorate.  His  ministry  began  on  the  last  Sunday 
of  March,  1898.  Since  then  large  sums  have  been 
raised  for  the  extinction  of  the  debt  (which  was  finally 
removed  in  1902),  for  the  enlargement  and  completion 
of  the  organ,  and  for  the  mission  hall  at  Zennor  Road. 
For  these  and  other  objects  a  bazaar  held  in  1902 
realised  altogether  over  -£1,100.  A  sum  of  £350  was 
also  contributed  towards  the  Central  Centenary  Fund 
of  the  Congregational  Union  of  England  and  Wales. 
In  1905  it  was  felt  that  owing  to  the  complete  appro- 
priation of  the  sittings,  and  the  perpetual  annoyance 
caused  by  the  imperfect  acoustics  of  the  building,  and 
by  the  noises  outside  the  church,  the  time  had  come 
for  the  completion  of  the  structure  by  the  erection  of 
galleries.  These  were  accordingly  built  during  the 
summer  months,  and  the  building  was  reopened  for 
public  worship  in  September,  1905.     To  the  great  joy 

BALHAM  335 

of  both  minister  and  people  it  was  found  that  the 
acoustics  of  the  building  were  now  perfect,  a  fact  which 
at  once  resulted  in  a  large  increase  in  the  number  of 
regular  worshippers.  The  church  will  now  seat  about 
goo  persons,  and  the  total  cost,  as  now  completed,  has 
been  about  £13,000.  This,  however,  does  not  include 
the  gift  (under  a  separate  trust)  of  a  handsome  parsonage 
by  one  of  the  former  deacons  of  the  church  ;  this  cost 
close  on  £2,000.  A  brass  tablet  in  the  entrance  of  the 
parsonage  records  the  donation  in  the  following  terms  : 
— "  To  the  glory  of  God,  and  to  the  beloved  memory 
of  Eleanor  Bax,  of  Kenmure,  Streatham,  Surrey,  who 
died  November  12,  1890,  in  the  seventy-seventh  year 
of  her  age,  this  parsonage,  together  with  the  land  on 
which  it  is  erected,  is  presented  in  perpetuity  to  Balham 
Congregational  Church,  in  which  she  worshipped 
.during  the  last  years  of  her  life,  by  her  son  Alfred  Ridley 
Bax,  F.S.A." 

In  addition  to  its  activities  within  its  own  borders, 
the  church  has  been  keenly  interested  from  the  begin- 
ning both  in  home  and  foreign  mission  work,  the  local 
auxiliary  to  the  L.M.S.  usually  collecting  between 
£200  and  £300  per  annum.  There  is  a  large  band  of 
workers  who  give  their  energies  to  the  carrying  on  of 
the  Zennor  Hall  Mission,  a  movement  which  dates 
from  the  year  1888,  the  present  hall  being  completed 
and  opened  in  1890  at  a  cost  of  £1,100.  This  building, 
standing  in  the  heart  of  a  working-class  population,  is 
a  hive  of  spiritual  and  social  effort.  Recently  the 
mission  has  been  largely  transformed  into  a  small 
"  institutional  church  "  whose  membership  is  a  part  of 
the  parent  church,  the  trust  deed  not  permitting  a 
separate  church  organisation  to  exist  at  the  Hall.  The 
working  men  show  a  real  appreciation  of  the  work  done 


in  their  behalf,  and  many  take  a  large  share  in  the  work 
on  their  own  account. 

After  nine  years'  service  Mr.  Griffith  Jones  was  called 
to  the  important  post  of  Principal  of  the  United 
Colleges  at  Bradford.  His  sound  scholarship,  his 
teaching  power,  and  his  ability  in  dealing  with  men  had 
long  marked  him  out  for  such  a  position.  He  accepted 
the  invitation  and  entered  upon  his  duties  in  September, 
1907.  The  pastorate  has  just  been  filled  by  Rev.  H.  H. 
Carlisle,  from  Lincoln. 


New  Maiden  is  the  centre  of  a  district  known  as 
"  The  Maidens  and  Coombe,"  which  stretches  from 
Richmond  Park  to  Cheam  Common,  and  from  Raynes 
Park,  Wimbledon,  to  Surbiton. 

In  1880  the  Free  Churches  in  this  area  were  only 
represented  by  the  Baptists  (close  communion)  and 
the  Wesleyans  (served  by  students  from  Richmond 
College).  Several  families  were  compelled  to  worship 
at  Kingston,  nearly  three  miles  distant ;  the  late 
Mr.  Charles  Woodroffe  had  done  so  for  twenty  years. 
When,  in  the  above-named  year,  Mr.  Chas.  Douglas 
Derry  settled  at  Maiden,  he  and  Mr.  Woodroffe  con- 
ceived the  idea  of  establishing  a  church  of  the  Congre- 
gational order,  of  which  the  doctrinal  basis  should  be 
acceptable  to  Free  Churchmen  in  general. 

Accordingly  these  gentlemen,  with  Mr.  J.  Pascall 
and  Mr.  C.  G.  Woodroffe,  constituted  themselves  a 
building  committee,  all  of  them  contributing  hand- 
somely towards  the  cost,  and  an  eligible  site  was  given 

NEW    MALDEN  337 

by  Mr.  John  King ;  the  scheme  having,  moreover, 
the  cordial  approval  and  support  of  the  London  Con- 
gregational Union.  The  plans  approved  were  for  a 
handsome  stone  building  of  Gothic  architecture,  accom- 
modating about  500  persons,  with  vestries,  lecture  hall, 
etc.,  at  an  estimated  cost  of  about  £4,000. 

The  foundation  stone  of  the  church  was  laid  on 
October  5, 1880,  by  Henry  Wright,  Esq.,  J. P.,  treasurer 
of  the  London  Congregational  Union,  and  the  lecture- 
hall  was  commenced  in  the  following  January.  On 
April  20,  188 1,  a  devotional  meeting  was  held,  under 
the  presidency  of  Rev.  H.  Storer  Toms,  of  Enfield,  in 
the  drawing-room  at  "  Broadlands,"  the  residence  of 
Mr.  Derry,  when  eighteen  persons  were  enrolled  as  the 
first  members  of  the  newly-constituted  Congregational 

The  church  buildings  were  opened  in  May  following, 
the  preachers  being  Rev.  John  Stoughton,  D.D.,  and 
Rev.  Professor  Redford,  LL.B.  At  an  evening  meet- 
ing a  letter  from  the  vicar  of  the  parish  was  read, 
wishing  success  and  blessing ;  and  the  vicar's  warden, 
Mr.  Davis,  spoke  some  words  of  sympathy.  During 
the  day  over  £400  was  promised  towards  the  cost. 

The  first  pastor  was  Rev.  Chas.  F.  W.  Wood,  M.A., 
from  New  College,  whose  deeply  spiritual  ministry  soon 
drew  together  a  thoughtful  congregation.  At  this  time 
"  Coombe  House "  was  occupied  as  a  hydropathic 
establishment,  and  many  of  the  visitors  availed  them- 
selves of  the  opportunity  to  attend  Mr.  Wood's 
ministry.  Amongst  these  was  the  late  Rev.  J.  Baldwin 
Brown,  B.A.,  and  notable  men  of  several  foreign 
nations,  including  Prince  Gortschakoff. 

In  May,  1885,  the  church  suffered  a  severe  loss  in  the 
death   of  Mr.    Charles  Woodroffe,  who   had   devoted 



himself  to  the  establishment   of  the  cause  with  self- 
sacrificing  zeal. 

Towards  the  end  of  1886  Mr.  Wood  removed  to  West 
Dulwich.  He  was  succeeded  at  Maiden  by  Rev.  E. 
Roberts,  from  Braunton,  Devon,  whose  pastorate  con- 
tinued four  years.  During  this  time  a  handsome  manse, 
in  keeping  with  the  style  of  the  church,  was  built  at  a 
cost  of  ;£i,6oo  from  plans  by  Mr.  W.  H.  Woodroffe, 

Although  a  debt  of  nearly  £2,500  remained  on  the 
church  at  its  opening,  within  six  years  the  whole  was 
cleared  off.  On  April  11,  1889,  a  memorial  stone  of  a 
new  wing  to  the  lecture-hall  was  laid  by  Mr.  Chas. 
Derry,  who  generously  met  the  cost  of  the  extension. 

Then  followed  a  series  of  reverses.  In  1890  Mr. 
Woodroffe  died ;  Mr.  Derry  and  Mr.  Pascall  with  their 
families  removed  to  a  distance;  and  Mr.  Roberts  retired 
from  the  active  work  of  the  ministry.  The  working 
power  of  the  church  was  reduced  to  a  minimum.  How- 
ever, other  friends  came  forward  who  did  their  best  to 
fill  the  gaps  ;  and  the  late  Mr.  Henry  Wood  gave  sub- 
stantial financial  aid,  which  was  of  great  importance  at 
this  juncture. 

The  crisis  ended  by  the  call  of  Rev.  Geo.  Manington, 
of  Bedworth,  Warwickshire,  to  the  pastorate.  He 
commenced  his  ministry  on  August  2,  1891,  and 
continued  about  sixteen  years. 

Although  the  crisis  was  over,  yet  the  removal  of  so 
many  families — comprising  in  each  so  many  active  church 
workers — left  the  cause  in  a  very  enfeebled  condition 
in  the  early  years  of  Mr.  Manington's  pastorate,  and 
the  task  set  before  him  was  one  which  none  but  a  man 
of  sterling  character  and  steadfast  faith  and  courage 
would  have  undertaken. 


It  has  been  anticipated  that  the  neighbourhood 
would  more  quickly  be  developed,  but  until  about  1902, 
the  population  remained  almost  stationary,  so  far  as 
numbers  are  concerned,  though  it  partook  of  the 
migratory  character  of  all  the  London  suburbs,  and 
consequently  there  were  continuous  losses  of  valued 
helpers  whose  places  could  not  always  be  filled.  How- 
ever, after  fourteen  years  of  patient,  unremitting,  and, 
from  its  very  nature,  of  almost  unrecognised  toil,  Mr. 
Manington  was  able  to  rejoice  in  a  prosperous  and 
steadily-increasing  church,  with  an  excellent  staff  of 
deacons  and  workers,  with  vigorous  Sunday  school, 
Christian  Endeavour  Society,  Band  of  Hope,  Young 
People's  Guild,  and  other  kindred  organisations,  now 
regarded  as  essential  to  the  well  being  of  a  Christian 
church.  And  with  the  natural  expansion  and  con- 
solidation of  the  district,  and  the  increase  of  the 
population,  which  has  already  begun,  the  hopes  of  the 
founders  of  the  church  seem  to  be  on  the  point  of  a 
complete  realisation. 

Mr.  Manington  resigned  in  1907,  and  his  place  has 
not  yet  been  supplied. 



Soon  after  the  publication  of  "  The  Bitter  Cry  of 
Outcast  London,"  Mr.  W.  S.  Caine,  the  well-known 
temperance  and  social  reformer,  decided  to  establish  a 

z  2 


mission  hall  in  a  district  where  few  Christian  agencies 
were  at  work.  After  much  searching  he  fixed  upon  an 
old  villa  residence  in  Wheatsheaf  Lane,  South  Lam- 
beth Road.  He  purchased  the  house  in  1884,  and  by 
removing  the  dividing  wall  between  the  dining  and 
drawing  rooms  obtained  a  little  hall  capable  of  seating 
about  100  persons.  With  two  or  three  helpers  from 
Stockwell  Baptist  Church  he  commenced  the  mission, 
and  held  the  first  service  on  February  3,  with  an 
audience  of  seventeen  persons.  After  the  service 
eleven  of  the  seventeen  remained  and  banded  them- 
selves together  to  do  what  they  could  to  bring  the 
sweetness  and  light  of  the  gospel  into  this  neighbour- 
hood. Among  the  workers  who  assisted  Mr.  Caine  in 
this  enterprise  were  Mr.  J.  T.  Rae,  Mr.  Walter  Glover, 
and  Mr.  Bailey. 

Gradually  the  work  grew.  Various  societies  from 
time  to  time  were  added.  The  attendances  at  the 
Sunday  services  steadily  increased,  until  Mr.  Caine  had 
to  extend  the  premises  into  the  garden  behind.  This 
soon  proved  inadequate,  and  a  large  shop  and  house  in 
Hartington  Road  were  converted  into  Hartington  Hall. 
Then  in  1891  Caine  Hall  was  taken ;  and  finally  a 
small  room  in  Pascall  Street,  one  of  the  worst  districts 
in  all  Lambeth. 

Hitherto  the  enterprise  had  been  carried  on  by  Mr. 
Caine  without  appealing  for  any  outside  help,  but  so 
steadily  did  the  work  grow  that  it  became  necessary  to 
pull  down  the  old  house  and  erect  a  properly-equipped 
mission  church.  In  1894  the  London  Congregational 
Union  voted  £400  towards  the  building  fund,  and  on 
July  4th,  1896,  the  foundation  stones  of  the  Wheatsheaf 
Hall  were  laid  by  Rev.  J.  Guinness  Rogers  and  Mrs. 
W.  S.  Caine.     The  opening  took  place  on  November 


11,  and  the  catholicity  of  the  enterprise  was  shown  by 
the  presence  of  such  men  as  Revs.  Canon  Wilberforce, 
Dr.  Newman  Hall,  Hugh  Price  Hughes,  F.  B.  Meyer, 
and  Andrew  Mearns. 

In  1902  No.  67,  South  Lambeth  Road,  was  pur- 
chased as  a  club  for  men.  To  the  very  last  Mr.  Caine 
was  deeply  interested  in  this  cause.  Within  a  few 
days  of  his  death  he  attended  its  services,  and  none  of 
all  his  good  works  lay  nearer  his  heart.  In  1895  Mr. 
Oliver  Millard  was  appointed  co-pastor  with  Mr. 
Caine,  and  now  remains  in  sole  charge. 




Earlsfield  Congregational  Church  had  its  origin  in  a 
cottage  service  held  by  Mr.  M.  Pocock,  a  Wesleyan,  in 
the  house  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hill,  subsequently  care- 
takers of  the  mission.  About  the  same  time,  though 
quite  distinct  from  it,  a  mission  Sunday  school  was 
carried  on  in  a  little  iron  room  called  St.  Joseph's,  in 
Garratt  Lane,  by  permission  of  the  Vicar  of  Summers- 
town  and  Miss  Townsend,  on  whose  property  it  stood. 
This  school  was  started  in  1872  by  Mr.  C.  Johnson 
and  Mr.  J.  C.  Pilcher,  two  members  of  East  Hill 

In  the  year  1875  a  new  Vicar  of  Summerstown 
withdrew  permission  to  use  St.  Joseph's  for  this  pur- 
pose,   and    a   few   friends    connected    with    East    Hill 


Church  bought  some  land  in  Thornsett  Road,  Earlsfield, 
and  erected  another  iron  room.  Hither  the  Sunday 
school  was  transferred,  and  carried  on  under  the 
superintendence  of  Mr.  J.  Turton  Wright,  of  East 
Hill  Church.  On  the  opening  of  this  new  room, 
Mr.  Pocock  removed  his  cottage  service  thither 
also,  and  placed  it  under  the  charge  of  Mr.  Wright. 
This  was  really  the  beginning  of  the  Earlsfield 

In  1881  Mr.  Wright  removed  to  Plymouth,  and  Mr. 
Richard  Pigott  succeeded  him  as  superintendent  of  the 
Sunday  school  and  mission. 

By  the  year  1884  the  iron  room  had  become  quite 
inadequate  for  the  needs  of  a  growing  neighbourhood. 
A  freehold  site  in  Earlsfield  Road  was  purchased  by 
the  East  Hill  Church,  aided  by  the  London  Union, 
from  the  late  Mr.  Robert  Davis,  at  a  cost  of  £600. 
Toward  this  Mr.  Davis  gave  a  donation  of  £100. 
Then,  notwithstanding  the  heavy  pressure  of  liabilities 
on  recently  erected  buildings  elsewhere,  the  East  Hill 
Church  erected  a  very  commodious  school  chapel,  at  a 
cost  of  over  £1,200.  The  old  iron  room  in  Thornsett 
Road  was  still  retained  as  a  mission  station.  The 
work  soon  became  too  great  for  lay  agency.  A  district 
growing  by  leaps  and  bounds  demanded  the  whole 
time  of  the  superintendent.  In  December,  1887,  a 
mission  church  was  formed  of  twenty-one  members 
from  the  East  Hill  Church,  and  Mr.  Pigott  handed 
over  the  superintendence  of  the  mission  to  an  agent 
appointed  and  paid  by  the  mother  church.  But 
although  resigning  the  superintendence  Mr.  Pigott 
still  kept  in  close  touch  with  the  work,  and  is  to-day, 
as  ever,  one  of  the  most  energetic  workers. 

In  1890  the  "mission"  arrangement  terminated,  and 


the  following  year  Rev.  Arthur  Williams  was  appointed 
by  the  East  Hill  Church  as  minister  in  charge. 

Mr.  Williams  was  ordained  in  February,  1892.  The 
following  month  the  mission  was  formed  into  an 
Independent  church,  with  Mr.  Williams  as  its  first 

Mr.  Williams  held  the  pastorate  till  July,  1895,  when 
he  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  H.  J.  Weatherhead,  of 
Bruce  Road  Church,  Bromley-by-Bow.  Mr.  Weather- 
head  had  ministered  in  the  United  Methodist  Free 
Church  from  1872  to  1883,  and  before  going  to  Bromley 
had  held  a  congregational  pastorate  for  some  years  at 
Notting  Hill.  After  four  years'  faithful  service  in 
Wandsworth  his  health  failed,  and  he  removed  to 
Alton,  in  Hampshire,  where  he  laboured  till  December, 
1903.  Mr.  Weatherhead  did  not  long  survive  his 
resignation.  In  February,  1904,  he  removed  to 
Bournemouth,  and  he  passed  to  his  rest  July  23,  1904. 

After  an  interval  of  sixteen  months  the  choice  of  the 
church  fell  upon  Rev.  A.  E.  Rowlinson.  Mr.  Rowlin- 
son  received  his  mini  terial  training  at  Nottingham 
Institute,  and  for  eight  years  had  done  good  service  at 
Newport,  Essex. 

Under  his  ministry  the  church  has  steadily  grown, 
and  in  1907  the  congregation  was  able  to  go  forward 
with  the  building  of  a  new  church.  The  memorial 
stones  were  laid  in  November,  1907,  by  Mr.  Montagu 
Holmes  and  Mr.  R.  Pigott. 




There  is  very  little  in  the  well-kept  roads  and 
modern  villas  and  fine  shops  of  this  district  to  suggest 
that  Streatham  was  an  old  village,  so  old  that  it  is 
mentioned  in  Domesday  Book,  and  still  earlier  received 
its  name  from  its  situation  on  a  Roman  Street.  By  the 
year  1881  it  had  become  an  outlying  suburb  with  a 
population  of  15,000  ;  to-day  it  is  linked  on  the  Metro- 
polis, and  Streatham  village  is  but  a  name. 

Before  the  present  church  was  established  the  nearest 
Congregational  Church  was  at  least  two  miles  away, 
and  it  was  felt  that  the  spiritual  needs  of  such  a  rapidly- 
growing  district  demanded  considerable  provision  by 
our  denomination.  An  attempt  indeed  had  been  made 
some  years  previously  to  build  up  a  church  in  Bedford 
Park,  and  for  some  time  services  had  been  held  in  an 
iron  building  in  Glenaldon  Road.  From  various  causes, 
however,  this  effort  came  to  nothing. 

In  1890  Mr.  F.  Scott  Tanner,  a  member  of  the  council 
of  the  London  Congregational  Union,  who  had  settled 
in  Streatham,  feeling  the  urgent  need  for  further  reli- 
gious provision,  requested  the  help  of  the  council  to 
start  services  in  the  Town  Hall  at  his  own  expense. 
The  opening  services  were  conducted  by  Dr.  Hannay 
on  October  12,  1890,  and  for  a  time  the  meetings  were 
carried  on  by  some  of  the  best-known  ministers  of 
London  and  the  provinces. 

In  1891  a  committee  was  formed  which  took  the 
financial  responsibility,  up  till  then  generously  borne  by 
Mr.  Tanner.     For  five  years  the  work  of  building  up  a 


church  and  congregation  went  steadily  on,  somewhat 
informally,  perhaps,  and  without  any  elaborate  machi- 
nery, but  nevertheless  with  manifest  signs  of  the  Divine 
presence  and  blessing. 

At  length  the  committee  of  management  felt  that  the 
time  had  come  to  look  for  a  minister,  and  an  invitation 
was  given  to  Mr.  W.  A.  H.  Legg,  M.A.,  a  student  of 
Mansfield  College,  to  undertake  the  pastorate.  Mr. 
Legg  accepted  the  invitation,  and  was  ordained  in  the 
Tow&n  Hall  on  September  25,  1895.  He  remained  till 
the  close  of  the  following  year,  when  he  resigned  to 
take  charge  of  the  church  at  King  Street,  Maidstone. 
He  has  since  removed  to  Tunbridge  Wells. 

During  the  vacancy  steps  were  taken  to  place  the 
church  on  a  basis  in  conformity  with  Congregational 
usage.  Rules  were  adopted,  deacons  were  elected,  and 
the  church  was  properly  organised  with  a  fellowship  of 
fifty  members.  The  one  great  want  now  was  a  capable 
and  acceptable  pastor.  After  a  long  and  anxious  quest 
an  invitation  was  sent  to  Rev.  W.  Charles  Loosemore, 
M.A.  Mr.  Loosemore  had  received  his  ministerial 
training  at  Nottingham  and  the  Yorkshire  United 
Colleges,  had  graduated  at  Glasgow,  and  had  held  a 
pastorate  at  Bury  for  seven  years.  Happily  he  was 
willing  to  leave  the  comparative  ease  of  an  old-estab- 
lished and  well  organised  church  to  undertake  a  work 
that  involved  all  the  anxiety  of  erecting  a  new  building 
and  consolidating  a  young  and  struggling  cause.  He 
accepted  the  invitation  and  commenced  his  ministry  on 
the  first  Sunday  in  October,  1898. 

Up  to  this  time  nothing  had  been  done  towards 
securing  a  permanent  church  building,  beyond  obtain- 
ing the  site.  For  some  years  it  had  been  difficult  to 
purchase  any  suitable  land,  but    in  1895  an  excellent 


freehold  property  was  secured,  just  below  the  railway 
station,  with  a  frontage  of  160  feet  to  the  main  road. 

Mr.  Loosemore's  settlement  soon  brought  about  a 
practical  building  scheme.  Plans  were  adopted  for  the 
erection  of  a  building  to  seat  700  persons,  and  the  work 
was  at  once  put  in  hand.  Memorial  stones  were  laid 
on  May  16,  1900,  by  Mr.  Chas.  Derry,  and  in  1901  the 
new  church  buildings,  erected  at  a  cost  (including  site) 
of  £14,000,  were  opened.  The  dedication  services  were 
conducted  on  Tuesday,  June  11,  by  Rev.  J.  G. 
Rogers,  D.D.,  and  Rev.  J.  H.  Jowett,  M.A.,  of  Bir- 

Early  in  1906  Mr.  Loosemore  resigned  the  pastorate. 
His  health  had  been  for  some  time  unsatisfactory,  and 
a  prolonged  rest  was  desirable. 

After  an  interval  of  some  months  the  church  gave  a 
hearty  invitation  to  the  Rev.  Thomas  Hooper,  of 
Ashton-under-Lyne,  to  take  up  the  work  in  this  impor- 
tant district.  Mr.  Hooper  was  no  stranger  to  London ; 
he  had  already  done  good  service  at  Camberwell  Green 
and  earlier  at  Kingsland.  He  accepted  the  invitation, 
much  to  the  delight  of  his  old  friends,  and  commenced 
his  pastorate  on  February  10,  1907.  His  coming 
brought  new  life  and  power  to  the  young  cause,  and 
under  his  able  ministry  there  is  rapidly  growing  one  of 
the  most  vigorous  churches  in  South  London. 

Alderman  Charles  Burt,  J. P.,  Richmond. 




On  the  removal  of  Rev.  D.  B.  James,  and  secession 
of  part  of  the  congregation,  from  Worple  Road  Church 
in  1893,  the  seceders  worshipped  for  some  time  in  the 
Collegiate  Hall.  As  soon  as  it  became  practicable  the 
building  known  as  Christ  Church  was  erected,  and 
there  Mr.  James  ministered  to  an  attached  people  until 
disabled  by  infirmity.  "  He  never  resigned  his  charge, 
the  personal  devotion  of  his  people  continuing  to  the 
end"  (Year  Book  Memoir).  After  two  years  of  partial 
inability,  he  died  on  June  28,  1900. 

He  was  succeeded  in  1901  by  Rev.  R.  W.  Farquhar, 
from  Chicago,  who  removed  in  1905.  The  pulpit  was 
vacant  for  something  over  a  year,  until  in  1907  the  pre- 
sent pastor,  Rev.  C.  Croucher,  was  invited.  He  had 
formerly  ministered  in  the  United  Methodist  Free 
Church.  Our  information  concerning  Christ  Church 
is  defective,  and  the  yearly  statistics  have  varied 
but  little  from  the  beginning  to  the  present  year. 


ST.    PAUL'S 


Of  late  years  there  has  been  considerable  extension 
in  that  part  of  Richmond  that  lies  adjacent  to  Kew. 
This  district  is  a  considerable  distance  from  the  Vine? 


yard  Church,  and  it  became  evident  that  a  Congrega- 
tional church  ought  to  be  established  to  meet  the  needs 
of  the  growing  population. 

A  site  was  secured  from  the  Crown,  in  Raleigh  Road, 
just  off  the  Lower  Mortlake  Road.  Here  the  church  is 
in  close  touch  with  a  large  working-class  population, 
and  is  easily  accessible  from  the  wealthier  district  that 
lies  along  and  off  the  Kew  Road.  The  entire  cost  of 
the  site  and  buildings  was  generously  borne  by  Alder- 
man and  Mrs.  Charles  Burt,  of  Hillside,  Richmond, 
who  have  since  conveyed  the  whole  property,  free  of 
debt  or  encumbrance,  to  twelve  trustees,  to  be  used  and 
maintained  for  ever  as  a  Congregational  church,  and 
for  all  religious,  educational  and  social  work  connected 

The  church  was  opened  for  public  worship  on 
December  12,  1898,  by  Dr.  Joseph  Parker.  In  the 
evening  a  public  meeting  was  held,  presided  over  by 
Alderman  Charles  Burt ;  the  Mayor  of  Richmond,  Mr. 
Albert  Spicer,  M.P.,  Mr.  J.  H.  Yoxall,  M.P.,  and  others 
took  part. 

The  first  minister  was  Rev.  William  Forbes,  late  of 
Capetown,  who  was  at  that  time  residing  in  Richmond. 
Mr.  Forbes  undertook  the  temporary  pastorate  for  the 
first  three  months  of  1899.  His  energy  and  ability  gave 
a  good  start  to  the  new  cause,  and  the  church  is  greatly 
indebted  to  him  for  the  work  he  accomplished. 

On  March  23,  1899,  the  church  was  formally  con- 
stituted with  thirty-five  members ;  and  deacons  and 
other  officers  were  appointed.  The  church  now  looked 
around  for  a  pastor.  Its  unanimous  choice  soon  fell  on 
Mr.  H.  Moffatt  Scott,  A.T.S.,  then  Senior  Student  of 
Hackney  College,  who  commenced  his  ministry  on 
Sunday,  June  11.      The  ordination  service  on  July  5 

WOKING  349 

was  presided  over  by  the  new  minister's  father,  Rev. 
William  Scott,  of  Eastbourne. 

The  Sunday  school  was  opened  on  Sunday  morning, 
January  8,  1899.  Fifty-three  children  presented  them- 
selves, and  Miss  Newnes,  Messrs.  A.  Falkner  and 
Topham  were  the  first  teachers.  By  the  end  of  the  first 
year  the  numbers  had  reached  180  scholars  and  fifteen 
teachers.  Steadily  the  work  grew,  one  institution  after 
another  being  called  into  existence,  till  by  the  end  of 
the  first  year  the  members  were  able  to  rejoice  in  a 
fully  equipped  and  active  church. 

In  October,  1902,  after  four  and  a  half  years'  service, 
Mr.  Scott  received  and  accepted  an  invitation  to  Stroud 
Green  Church,  where  he  now  labours.  The  following 
year,  Rev.  Thomas  Powell  Lansdowne,  of  Halstead,  in 
Essex,  was  invited  to  the  vacant  pastorate,  and  entered 
upon  his  duties  on  September  3,  1903.  Toward  the 
end  of  1906  Mr.  Lansdowne  removed  to  Windsor,  and 
was  succeeded  after  a  short  interval  by  Rev.  T.  R. 
Archer,  from  Maidstone. 

The  church  buildings  have  lately  been  completed  by 
the  erection  of  an  infant  school. 



Woking  is  a  village  and  parish  on  the  river  Wey, 
twenty-four  miles  from  London.  Possibly  it  would  be 
more  correct  to  describe  it  as  one  of  the  distant  suburbs 
of  London,  for  few  places  so  far  from  the  metropolis 
have  grown  more  rapidly  under  its  influence,  and  to-day 
the  old  village  is  lost  amid  the  labyrinth  of  villas. 


Woking  was  one  of  the  districts  worked  by  the 
Surrey  Mission.  Their  agent,  Mr.  Gayton,  laboured 
here  in  the  early  years  of  the  last  century,  until  1823  ; 
extending  his  ministry  through  the  neighbouring 
villages  as  far  eastward  as  Claygate  and  Hook,  and 
southward  to  Shere.  No  less  than  twenty-six  villages 
were  visited  by  this  indefatigable  evangelist. 

The  present  church  at  Woking  was  gathered  in  1897. 
By  that  year  the  neighbourhood  had  so  developed  that 
the  executive  of  the  Surrey  Congregational  Union,  in 
view  of  the  rapidly  growing  population,  appointed  a 
committee  to  take  steps  for  the  purchase  of  a  site,  and 
the  commencement  of  services.  After  some  difficulty 
a  plot  of  land  was  secured  at  a  cost  of  £600  in  the 
York  Road,  Mount  Hermon,  where  up  to  that  time 
there  was  no  church  accommodation  at  all. 

Services  were  commenced  at  Onslow  Hall  in 
October,  1899.  Two  months  later  a  Sunday  school 
was  started ;  and  at  the  end  of  the  year  a  devotional 
meeting  was  held  at  the  house  of  George  Unwin,  Esq. 
Rev.  Alexander  Cowe,  M.A.,  of  Guildford,  presided, 
and  the  following  resolution  was  adopted  by  thirty-four 
persons  who  subscribed  their  names  thereto :  "  We 
who  have  appended  our  names  to  this  resolution  do 
hereby,  desiring  to  be  ourselves  helped,  and  to  help 
each  other  in  living  the  life  of  faith  in  Jesus  Christ,  and 
of  loving  and  loyal  discipleship  to  Him,  desiring  also 
to  do  all  that  lies  in  our  power  for  the  extension 
of  His  kingdom  and  influence  in  this  world,  con- 
stitute ourselves  for  the  furtherance  of  these  aims, 
a  Church  of  Christ,  after  the  order  generally  known 
as    Congregational." 

In  the  following  March  an  invitation  was  given  to 
the   Rev.  Henry   W.  Clark,  of  Hackney  College,  who 

WOKING  351 

had  been  conducting  the  services  from  the  commence- 
ment, to  remain  as  pastor. 

Steps  were  then  taken  to  erect  a  permanent  building. 
Designs  by  Mr.  W.  Howard  Seth-Smith,  F.R.I. B. A., 
were  adopted,  and  the  work  of  building  the  lecture 
hall  was  at  once  proceeded  with.  The  cost  of  this  was 

On  October  8,  1900,  the  memorial  stones  of  the 
lecture  hall  and  class-room  were  laid  by  Mr.  G.  H. 
Leeson  (chairman  of  the  Surrey  Congregational  Union), 
Mrs.  E.  S.  Jones,  Mrs.  Unwin,  and^Mrs.  Harrison.  On 
that  day  contributions  to  the  amount  of  £225  were 

The  following  May  the  lecture  hall  was  opened,  Rev. 
Dr.  J.  G.  Rogers,  of  Clapham,  preaching  at  the  opening 

Mr.  Clark  remained  until  1904,  exercising  a  cultured 
ministry  and  manfully  facing  the  many  difficulties  of  a 
new  cause.  But  he  was  far  from  strong,  and  the 
pioneer  work  of  a  place  like  Woking  entailed  a  great 
strain.  He  resigned  in  June,  1904,  followed  by  the 
esteem  of  his  people  and  brother  ministers.  He  has 
not  since  sought  another  church,  but  devoted  himself 
to  literary  work  for  which  he  has  great  gifts. 

In  December,  1904,  the  church  gave  an  invitation  to 
Rev.  J.  Harrison  Milnes,  M.A.  (of  Mansfield  College, 
Oxford,  and  St.  John's  College,  Cambridge),  to  become 
its  pastor.  Under  his  energetic  leadership  considerable 
progress  has  been  made;  and  great  hopes  are  enter- 
tained that  before  many  years  there  will  be  a  strong 
and  efficient  church  in  this  important  district. 



Byfleet  is  a  rapidly  growing  neighbourhood  on  the 
London  and  South  Western  line  between  Weybridge 
and  Woking. 

A  room  was  opened  here  by  the  Surrey  Mission  in 
1858,  where  some  fifty  persons  met  in  the  week  for 
worship.  A  Sunday  evening  service  was  next  estab- 
lished, with  a  congregation  of  one  hundred.  This 
was  afterwards  transferred  to  the  Wesleyans,  who  are 
doing  a  good  work  there. 

The  present  church  dates  from  1902,  when  Mr.  T. 
Dence  commenced  services  in  a  cottage.  This  becoming 
too  strait,  a  chapel  at  Byfleet  West,  together  with  four 
cottages,  was  purchased  from  the  Plymouth  Brethren  for 
£1,200.  Messrs.  A.  Pye  Smith  (Croydon),  G.  Chambers 
(Weybridge),  D.  Williamson  (Guildford),  and  J.  E. 
Fitzwalter  formed  themselves  into  a  committee,  and 
purchased  the  buildings,  raising  the  money  on  mortgage. 

Shortly  afterwards  Mr.  Dence  left  the  neighbourhood 
for  Guildford,  much  to  the  disappointment  and  regret 
of  the  people.  The  oversight  of  the  work  was  then 
taken  by  the  church  at  Weybridge. 

In  1904  Byfleet  was  grouped  with  Cobham  under  the 
ministry  of  Rev.  M.  Williams,  B.A.  Mr.  Williams,  by 
persistent  effort,  is  already  beginning  to  make  his  work 
tell.  Recently  two  of  the  cottages  have  been  sold  and 
the  money  used  to  reduce  the  mortgage.  About  £600 
is  still  required  to  free  the  property  from  debt. 




Although  the  rector  of  this  town,  Rev.  Samuel  Nabbs, 
was  ejected  from  his  living  by  the  Act  of  Uniformity, 
he  does  not  seem  to  have  made  any  attempt  to 
establish  a  church.  Calamy  only  says,  "  After  his 
ejectment  he  lived  in  the  neighbourhood  of  London, 
where  he  died  very  old  and  infirm." 

But  another  ejected  minister,  Rev.  John  Wood,  of 
North  Chapel,  in  Sussex,  came  to  reside  at  Westcott 
(or  Westgate),  where  he  had  a  small  estate. 

Westcott  is  a  little  hamlet  about  a  mile  and  a  half 
from  Dorking,  and  here,  according  to  Waddington,  "  he 
first  gathered  a  congregation  and  continued  to  preach 
for  some  time  in  his  own  house  ;  but  upon  the  increase 
of  his  hearers,  who  came,  it  is  supposed,  principally 
from  Dorking,  he  fitted  up  a  barn  in  the  town  on  a 
spot  which  is  known  by  the  name  of  Butter  Hill." 

Rev.  James  Fisher,  the  ejected  rector  from  Fetcham, 
also  preached  in  Dorking.  He  supported  himself  by 
keeping  a  school,  preaching  in  his  own  house. 

According  to  the  return  of  conventicles  made  to  Arch- 
bishop Sheldon  in  1669,  the  gathering  presided  over  by 
Mr.  Fisher  had  about  100  adherents,  with  a  Mr. 
Feake  and  other  strangers  as  teachers.     Three  other 

A  A 


conventicles  are  also  reported,  one  in  the  house  of  John 
Wood,  for  Presbyterians,  with  300  adherents  ;  teachers, 
the  said  Mr.  Wood  and  Mr.  King,  of  Ashstead.  Another, 
for  Anabaptists,  in  the  house  of  John  Barnard,  who 
was  also  the  teacher,  with  fifty  adherents.  Another  for 
Quakers,  of  which  no  particulars  are  recorded. 

The  Mr.  Feake  above  referred  to  was  a  notorious 
Fifth  Monarchy  man.  In  Cromwell's  time  he  had 
held  the  living  of  Christ  Church,  Newgate  Street,  but 
was  deprived  and  imprisoned  for  violent  language 
against  the  Protector,  whom  he  called  "  the  man  of 
sin  "  and  "  a  perjured  villain."  But  in  1664  he  appears 
at  Dorking  with  a  numerous  following. 

Amongst  the  requests  for  licences  under  the  Declara- 
tion of  Indulgence  in  1672  we  find  one  on  April  11,  for 
Mr.  James  Fisher,  Congregational,  and  also  one  for 
John  Wood,  Presbyterian,  at  his  own  house. 

Dr.  Walker,  in  his  "  Sufferings  of  the  Clergy,"  speaks 
of  Mr.  Fisher  as  "a  man  of  very  mean  character,"  and 
charges  him  with  great  inhumanity  to  the  wife  of  his 
predecessor,  Dr.  Turner.  Calamy  disbelieves  the 
charge,  and  urges  in  defence  of  Mr.  Fisher  his  general 
character,  which  was  remarkable  for  humanity  and 
tenderness,  and  the  testimony  of  one  of  his  successors, 
who  assured  Mr.  Fisher's  daughter  "that  her  father's 
memory  was  then  precious  at  Dorking  and  would  never 
die  there." 

Another  ejected  clergyman  who  lived  for  a  while  in 
Dorking  was  Mr.  Wright.  He  held  the  sequestrated 
rectory  of  Charlwood,  but  had  to  leave  it  soon  after  the 
Restoration.    He  afterwards  lived  privately  in  Dorking. 

Mr.  Fisher  died  in  1691  at  the  ripe  age  of  eighty-nine, 
and  Mr.  Wood  did  not  long  survive  his  brother  minister. 
He  remained  pastor  of  the  church  till  1695,  when  he 


died  at  the  age  of  seventy-eight.  Calamy  speaks  of 
him  as  "  a  grave,  solid  and  judicious  divine  who  brought 
forth  fruit  in  old  age." 

The  same  year  that  Mr.  Wood  died  the  Rev.  Samuel 
Brooks  accepted  the  charge  of  the  church  on  Butter 
Hill.  He  was  probably  the  son  of  Rev.  Samuel  Brooks, 
of  Huntingdon,  a  man  of  scholarship  and  position,  who 
kept  a  select  private  school  after  his  ejectment,  and  died 
on  his  own  estate  in  Essex.  Shortly  before  his  death 
Mr.  Brooks  removed  to  London.  His  body  was  brought 
back  to  Dorking  for  burial  with  many  tokens  of  respect. 

Samuel  Highmore  was  the  next  pastor.  He  settled 
in  Dorking  in  1706.  There  is  a  MS.  written  by  him  in 
1 710,  preserved  in  the  British  Museum,  in  which  he 
gives  a  description  of  various  points  of  interest  in  the 
neighbourhood.  In  1719  he  removed  to  Mortlake, 
where  he  held  the  pastorate  until  his  death  in  1755. 

Joseph  Stokes  was  the  next  pastor  of  the  Dorking 
church.  The  old  church  book  dates  from  the  com- 
mencement of  his  pastorate.  One  interesting  record 
has  reference  to  the  "briefs"  that  were  addressed  by 
the  authorities  to  dissenting  congregations.  They  were 
expected  to  contribute  toward  making  good  damages 
done  by  fire,  flood  and  hailstorms,  and  even  to  the  repair 
of  parish  churches  in  various  parts  of  the  country.  The 
following  are  examples: — 1766,  for  hailstorms  in  York- 
shire, is.  id.  ;  1766,  for  hailstorms  in  Berkshire,  ys.; 
1793,  for  a  fire  in  Liverpool,  7s.  yd. ;  1793,  for  a  fire  at 
Ellerton  paper  mills,  5.5.  6%d. 

Two  years  after  Mr.  Stokes  began  his  ministry  so 
much  success  attended  his  work  that  the  congregation 
removed  from  the  old  barn  on  Butter  Hill  to  a  meeting 
house  erected  on  the  site  of  the  present  building  in  West 
Street.     It  was  a  small  homely  building,  approached  by 

a  a  2 


a  rather  narrow  passage.  It  was  built  of  red  brick, 
with  a  roof  of  pantiles,  which  gave  rise  to  the  name  of 
"  Pantilers,"  by  which  dissenters  in  Dorking  were  known 
for  more  than  a  century  afterwards. 

There  is  no  record  of  the  termination  of  Mr.  Stokes's 
ministry,  but  in  1728  we  find  that  Rev.  John  Mason 
was  ordained  to  the  pastorate  by  fasting  and  prayer 
and  the  laying  on  of  hands.  Mr.  Mason  was  born  at  Dun- 
mow  in  1705.  For  some  years  he  was  chaplain  and 
tutor  in  the  family  of  Governor  Feaks.  at  Hatfield. 
He  was  the  author  of  "  Self-Knowledge, "  a  book  that 
attained  considerable  celebrity,  and  was  translated  into 
several  languages.  Another  book  by  Mr.  Mason  bore 
the  quaint  title,  "The  Lord's  Day  Evening  Entertain- 
ment, a  set  of  sermons  for  families." 

After  seventeen  years'  pastorate  Mr.  Mason  removed 
in  1746  to  Cheshunt,  where  he  continued  for  seventeen 
years  longer.  He  died  February  10,  1763,  at  the  com- 
paratively early  age  of  fifty-eight,  and  was  buried  in 
Cheshunt  churchyard,  where  there  is  a  stone  with  a 
brief  inscription  to  his  memory. 

Thomas  Coad,  a  native  of  Stoford,  in  Somersetshire, 
was  the  next  pastor.  His  father,  John  Coad,  was  a 
carpenter,  who  followed  the  ill-fated  Duke  of  Monmouth 
in  the  insurrection  of  1685.  He  was  sentenced  to  death 
by  Jeffreys,  but  managed  to  get  included  amongst  those 
who  were  transported  to  the  plantations  of  Jamaica. 
There  he  preached  the  gospel  to  the  slaves,  and  on  his 
return  to  England  wrote  an  account  of  his  adventures 
and  sufferings,  under  the  title  "  A  memorandum  of  the 
Wonderful  Providences  of  God  to  a  Poor  Unworthy 
Creature."  The  manuscript  found  its  way  into  the 
hands  of  Macaulay,  who  was  ple.ised  with  its  quaint- 
ness   and    truth,    and   who    refers    to    it    in    the    first 


volume  of  his  "  History  of  England."     It  was  printed  in 


The  only  record  we  have  of  Mr.  Coad's  pastorate  is 
a  notice  of  its  sudden  close.  On  January  24,  1749,  he 
was  taken  ill,  and  died  in  the  vestry  at  the  age  of  fifty- 
three.  There  is  a  small  tablet  in  the  school-room  to 
his  memory. 

In  1750  an  invitation  was  given  to  the  Rev.  Andrew 
Kippis,  and  on  November  10  he  too  was  set  apart 
"with  fasting  and  prayer."  He  was  born  at  Notting- 
ham, March  28,  1725,  and  on  both  his  father's  and 
mother's  side  was  descended  from  ejected  ministers. 
At  the  age  of  sixteen  he  entered  Dr.  Doddridge's  academy 
to  study  for  the  ministry,  and  here  commenced  a  strong 
attachment  to  that  famous  man  that  lasted  through  life. 

On  leaving  college  in  1746  he  received  two  invi- 
tations, one  to  Dorchester  and  one  to  Boston  in 
Lincolnshire.  He  accepted  the  latter,  and  remained 
there  till  his  removal  to  Dorking  in  1750. 

Kippis  was  the  first  of  the  Dorking  ministers  to  fall 
into  the  Arian  errors  that  so  fatally  affected  the  churches 
during  the  eighteenth  century  :  he  seems  to  have  been 
led  from  the  old  orthodoxy  by  Elisha  Cole's  famous 
treatise  on  "  Divine  Sovereignty,''  a  book  lent  to  him 
by  his  friends  with  the  intention  of  producing  an  exactly 
contrary  effect. 

In  June,  1753,  Mr.  Kippis  accepted  a  call  from  the 
Presbyterian  Church  at  Prince's  Street,  Westminster,  in 
succession  to  Dr.  Obadiah  Hughes.  In  1763,  he  was 
elected  classical  tutor  at  Coward  College,  and  four 
years  later  received  the  degree  of  D.D.  from  the 
University  of  Edinburgh.  This  was  followed  in  1779 
by  his  election  to  a  fellowship  of  the  Royal  Society. 

Dr.  Kippis  was  a  voracious  reader  and  a  voluminous 


writer.     He  is  said   to    have   read   for    sixteen   hours 
a  day. 

Robert  Hall  once  said  of  him,  "  Kippis  laid  so  many 
books  upon  his  head  that  his  brains  could  not  move," 
but  Dr.  Rees,  who  preached  his  funeral  sermon,  more 
truly  observed,  "  Few  men  read  more,  or  better  arranged 
the  fruit  of  their  studies."  Amongst  his  literary  pro- 
ductions were  the  first  five  volumes  of  the  "  Biographia 
Britannica,"  which  he  edited,  a  valuable  life  of  Captain 
James  Cook  and  several  other  memoirs.  He  also 
edited  several  early  volumes  of  the  "  Annual  Register." 
His  useful  life  closed  somewhat  suddenly.  After  a 
short  illness  which  baffled  the  skill  of  even  the  most 
eminent  physicians  he  passed  to  his  rest  on  the  even- 
ing of  October  8,  1795,  in  the  seventy-first  year  of 
his  age. 

On  November  6,  1753,  the  church  gave  an  invitation 
to  Rev.  John  Heap,  who,  after  his  removal  from 
Dorking,  entered  the  Established  Church. 

The  next  pastor  was  Peter  Emans,  who  settled  on 
August  ii,  1764.  He  left  in  1767  and  became  a 

For  two  years  the  church  remained  without  a  pastor. 
On  November  19,  1769,  William  Stuck  came  on  pro- 
bation. His  services  found  favour  with  the  people,  and 
he  was  ordained  August  15,  1770. 

For  twenty-eight  years  Mr.  Stuck  remained  pastor 
of  the  church,  but  his  ministry  does  not  appear  to  have 
been  very  successful.  Waddington  says,  "  The  church 
under  Arian  teachers  had  departed  from  the  faith,"  and 
he  tells  us  that  on  Mr.  Stuck's  resignation  through 
illness  in  1797  "it  had  little  more  than  a  nominal 

Dr.  Bright  in  his  "  History  of  Dorking  "  mentions  one 

Thomas  Wilson.   Esq.,  of  Highbury. 


interesting  fact  with  regard  to  this  period.  "  In  1780, 
there  are  frequent  entries  of  the  baptism  of  the  children 
of  soldiers  belonging  to  the  Scots  Greys,  the  Old  Buffs, 
the  69th  Regiment  of  Foot,  and  the  Northumberland 
Militia.  The  last  regiments  were  encamped  on  Ranmore 
Common  to  be  at  hand  in  case  of  any  outbreak  in 
London,  and  the  occurrence  of  the  Gordon  Riots 
justified  the  step." 

Dr.  Bright  gives  Joseph  Hobson  as  the  name  of  the 
next  pastor ;  but  Dr.  Waddington  says  that  for  ten 
years  there  was  no  settled  pastor,  and  makes  no  men- 
tion of  Mr.  Hobson.  He  would  seem,  however,  to  refer 
to  Mr.  Hobson  when  he  says  later,  concerning  Mr. 
Thomas  Wilson's  effort  to  resuscitate  the  cause,  that 
"  He  (i.e.,  Wilson)  was  greatly  tried  with  one  of  the 
first  agents  introduced  to  the  work,  who  proved  defec- 
tive in  moral  character.  The  people  withdrew  and 
worshipped  in  another  place." 

The  period  of  exile  from  the  building  proved  to 
be  fruitful  in  spiritual  results.  In  1806  Mrs.  Eives, 
a  niece  of  Robert  Raikes  of  Gloucester,  invited  her 
laundress's  children  to  be  taught  in  her  kitchen  on 
Sunday,  afterwards  others  joined  them.  In  the 
following  year  the  school  was  probably  transferred 
either  to  the  Old  King's  Head  or  to  the  meeting  house. 
At  last  the  attention  of  Mr.  Thomas  Wilson,  that 
zealous  builder  and  rebuilder  of  churches,  was  called 
to  the  state  of  things  at  Dorking.  He  induced  Mr. 
Hobson  to  accept  a  sum  of  money  in  satisfaction  of  his 
claims,   and   the    congregation   returned   to   their   old 


The  date  of  this  return  to  the  old  meeting-house  has 
not  been  ascertained.  An  entry  in  the  old  minute  book 
says  :  "  During  the  period  of  Mr.  Hobson's  ministry  at 


Dorking  there  was  a  separation  in  the  congregation,  and 
the  separatists  worshipped  in  a  room  at  the  King's 
Head  for  many  years  till  Mr.  Hobson  left  Dorking,  when 
they  returned  to  the  chapel  and  were  supplied  by  the 
students  of  Hoxton  Academy  till  Midsummer,  1812." 

Amongst  those  who  preached  at  this  time  was  the 
celebrated  Thomas  Spencer.  This  remarkable  young 
man,  of  whom  Robert  Hall  said  that  he  seemed  likely 
to  carry  the  art  of  preaching  to  an  unknown  degree  of 
perfection,  was  engaged  to  preach  at  Dorking  whilst  a 
youth  at  college.  Spencer's  career  was  short  and 
brilliant.  He  was  invited  to  the  church  in  Liverpool, 
afterwards  associated  with  the  ministry  of  Dr.  Raffles. 
A  large  chapel  was  erected  for  him,  but  going  out  one 
evening  to  bathe  in  the  Mersey,  he  was  drowned  when 
only  in  the  twenty-first  year  of  his  age. 

In  1812  Rev.  John  Jervis  Whitehouse  commenced 
his  ministry.  He  began  preaching  among  the  Metho- 
dists at  the  age  of  eighteen.  We  read  in  the  life  of 
Thomas  Wilson  that  under  his  ministry  there  was  a 
great  revival  at  Dorking.  His  pastorate  was  not  a 
long  one.  Always  delicate,  he  passed  to  his  rest  at  the 
early  age  of  thirty-six.  He  was  buried  in  the  vestry  of 
the  meeting  house  in  West  Street,  February  1,  1825. 
His  son  was  afterwards  a  missionary  in  Travancore, 
whilst  his  grandson  is  to-day  the  honoured  principal  of 
Cheshunt  College. 

Rev.  Alfred  Dawson  was  the  next  minister.  He  was 
born  in  London,  May  14,  1794.  Having  studied  under 
John  Thornton  at  Billericay,  and  afterwards  at  Hoxton, 
he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Grantham  (Lincolnshire) 
in  1822,  where  he  was  ordained  the  following  year.  He 
removed  to  Dorking  in  1826.  So  successful  was  his 
work  that  it  became  necessary  to  erect  a  new  chapel. 


Mr.  T.  Wilson  laid  the  first  stone  on  September  3,  1834. 
The  same  year  Mr.  Dawson  resigned  through  illness, 
and  on  the  30th  of  the  following  March  he  passed  to 
his  rest. 

The  church  then  invited  Mr.  Richard  Connebee,  of 
Highbury  College,  to  the  vacant  pulpit.  He  was 
ordained  on  March  23,  1836.  During  Mr.  Connebee's 
ministry  the  chapel  was  crowded,  and  a  great  revival  of 
religion  took  place  amongst  young  people.  The 
Sunday  school  was  well  attended,  and  in  July,  1843, 
an  infant  school  was  commenced  by  Miss  Whitehouse. 
A  branch  school  was  also  established  at  North 

In  1846  Mr.  Connebee  accepted  a  call  to  Kew,  near 
Melbourne,  where  he  laboured  for  some  years,  removing 
later  to  Dunedin  in  New  Zealand.  He  died  at  Kew, 
Victoria,  in  1883,  in  the  47th  year  of  his  ministry. 

Rev.  John  Shenstone  Bright  was  the  next  pastor. 
He  was  born  in  Coventry  in  1809,  and  received  his 
training  at  Highbury.  His  first  charge  was  at  Luton, 
thence  he  removed  to  Woolwich,  and  w7as  called  to  the 
pulpit  of  Dorking  in  1847. 

In  1858  a  new  schoolroom  was  built  at  a  cost  of  £800. 
In  1874  the  chapel  was  restored  at  a  cost  of  £1,100, 
and  opened  free  of  debt.  In  1882  new  class-rooms  were 
added  to  the  schools,  and  again  the  buildings  were 
opened  free  of  debt. 

Some  of  Mr.  Bright's  best  work  was  done  in  connec- 
tion with  the  villages.  Under  his  oversight  the  missions 
at  Headley,  Park  Gate,  and  Walton  on  the  Hill  were 
commenced.  During  his  pastorate  four  young  men  who 
had  been  connected  with  his  congregation  entered 
the  Christian  ministry.  Two  of  these,  William 
Henry  Beckett  of  Stebbing,  and  W.   H.  Summers  of 


Hungerford,  have  left  to  the  church  historical    works 
of  considerable  value. 

Mr.  Bright  held  the  pastorate  for  forty  years,  resigning 
in  1886.  He  possessed  wide  scholarship  and  high 
literary  ability.  His  writings,  both  theological  and 
historical,  were  numerous.  In  1876  he  published  a 
guide  to  Dorking,  and  later  a  history  of  Dorking  and 
neighbourhood.  In  the  year  of  his  retirement  his  con- 
tributions to  literature  were  recognised  in  a  diploma  of 
D.D.  from  an  American  university.  After  his  retirement 
he  still  continued  to  live  amongst  the  scenes  he  loved 
so  well.  His  health  failed  in  the  spring  of  1895,  and 
he  died  on  November  4  of  that  year,  in  the  eighty-sixth 
year  of  his  age  and  fifty-seventh  of  his  ministry. 

On  Dr.  Bright's  resignation  the  choice  of  the  church 
fell  upon  Rev.  G.  Avery.  Mr.  Avery  was  a  student  of 
Cotton  End.  In  1873  he  accepted  the  pastorate  of 
Newmarket,  and  five  years  later  removed  to  Shanklin, 
Isle  of  Wight.  His  recognition  took  place  on  June  30, 
1886.  For  sixteen  years  he  worthily  maintained  the 
cause,  and  returned  to  the  Isle  of  Wight,  this  time  to 
Newport,  in  1902. 

The  church  did  not  go  far  in  search  of  his  successor. 
Rev.  T.  R.  Grantham,  who  was  doing  excellent  work  in 
the  neighbouring  town  of  Farnham,  was  invited  to  the 
vacant  pastorate,  and  in  November,  1902,  commenced 
his  ministry.  One  of  his  first  efforts  was  to  attach  the 
village  causes  more  closely  to  the  West  Street  Church 
by  the  institution  of  village  membership.  In  April, 
1904,  about  seventy  persons  were  thus  united  to  the 
mother  church.  In  1905  preparations  were  made  for 
celebrating  the  centenary  of  the  Sunday  school  in  the 
following  year.  It  was  decided  to  purchase  a  house 
and  garden  adjoining  the  church,  to  erect  a  new  Sunday 

Rev.  J.  S.   Bright,  D.D..  Dorking. 


school,  and  to  make  various  improvements  in  the 
church.  A  very  gratifying  response  was  received  from 
the  members,  and  the  scheme  has  lately  been  carried 
into  effect. 




A  few  miles  below  Redhill,  on  the  borders  of  Sussex, 
lies  the  little  village  of  Charlwood.  Mr.  Smith,  one  of 
the  agents  of  the  Surrey  Mission,  visited  this  place  in 
1814.  He  began  with  some  fifteen  or  twenty  hearers, 
but  the  people  soon  came  from  the  parishes  around,  and 
an  encouraging  work  was  carried  on.  A  chapel  capable 
of  accommodating  250  persons  was  erected,  and  a 
church  formed  which  by  1822  numbered  forty  members. 
Later,  a  Sunday  school  was  commenced,  with  an 
average  attendance  of  eighty  children.  The  establish- 
ment of  a  School  of  Industry  in  connection  with 
the  parish  church  greatly  affected  this  work,  thirty- 
eight  girls  being  removed  from  the  Nonconformist 
to  the  "  Church  "  school. 

In  1834  the  people  at  Charlwood  desired  to  have  a 
settled  minister,  and  Mr.  Joseph  Flint  guaranteed  his 
support  ;  so  after  nearly  twenty  years  of  service 
Mr.  Smith  resigned  his  charge  and  removed  to 
Bletchingley.  From  this  time  to  1885  we  have  no 
account  of  Congregationalism  in  Charlwood.  In  that 
year,  however,  a  building  which  was  originally  erected 
for   a   blacksmith's   shop,    and    afterwards  used    as   a 


slaughterhouse,  was  taken  and  fitted  up  for  mission 
purposes.  Some  still  remember  the  ring  in  the  floor  to 
which  the  oxen  to  be  slaughtered  were  tied,  and  the 
blood  stains  which  remained  for  some  time. 

About  1889  the  building  was  purchased,  enlarged  and 
renovated,  and  is  to-day  a  comfortable  mission  hall 
with  vestry  attached. 

In  the  early  days  of  the  mission  the  services  were  not 
always  quiet  and  decorous.  Peas  and  other  missiles 
were  sometimes  thrown  at  the  preacher.  But  the  work 
grew,  and  hearts  were  melted  by  the  Saviour's  love. 

In  1888,  one  of  the  converts,  Mr.  B.  Banks,  began  a 
Sunday  school  by  inducing  a  number  of  boys,  who  were 
playing  marbles,  to  accompany  him  to  the  hall.  There 
are  now  over  100  scholars  and  eight  teachers,  most  of 
the  latter  having  been  scholars  in  the  school.  There  is 
also  a  Sunday  morning  adult  school  for  men,  a  weekly 
service,  and  weekly  Bible  class,  a  Band  of  Hope  with 
forty-five  members,  a  mothers'  meeting,  coal  and 
clothing  clubs,  and  a  men's  benefit  society. 

The  church  and  its  organisations  are  on  the  same 
footing  as  at  Park  Gate,  and  under  the  care  of  the  same 
evangelist,  who  preaches  on  alternate  Sundays  at  each 
place.  Both  here  and  at  Park  Gate  the  work  is  full  of 


(1876— 1885) 

About  the  year  1876  Mr.  Charles  Shearman,  assisted 
by  several  other  young  men  from  the  Dorking  Congre- 
gational Church,  held  open  air  services  at   Park  Gate 


during  the  summer.  These  were  continued  for  several 

In  1880  a  sympathetic  resident  invited  the  workers  to 
hold  their  meetings  in  his  cottage  at  Tots-hole.  As 
more  space  became  necessary,  a  larger  room  was  taken 
under  the  granary  at  High  Trees  Farm.  Here  there 
were  numerous  conversions,  and  the  work  grew  apace. 
Then  opposition  began  to  be  shown,  the  room  had  to  be 
closed,  and  the  work  for  a  short  time  discontinued. 

Soon  one  of  the  converts  threw  open  his  cottage  in 
Broad  Lane,  and  the  work  was  resumed  with  renewed 
vigour,  and  much  success.  Frequently  the  parlour, 
kitchen,  and  staircase  were  crowded,  and  "  the  power 
of  the  Lord  was  present  to  heal." 

After  much  prayer  land  was  procured,  and  largely 
through  the  kindness  and  energy  of  Mr.  J.  Todman,  of 
Dorking,  an  iron  mission  hall,  with  vestry  attached,  was 

The  opening  services  were  held  on  June  2, 1885.  The 
first  sermon  was  preached  by  the  Rev.  Newman 
Hall,  LL.B.,  and  in  the  evening  a  large  and  enthusi- 
astic meeting,  presided  over  by  General  Sir  Arthur 
Cotton,  was  addressed  by  Revs.  J.  S.  Bright,  G.  J. 
Adeney,  and  others. 

Mr.  Harrison  was  appointed  evangelist  for  a  year  ;  he 
was  succeeded  by  Mr.  Gabriel  Woodward,  who  con- 
tinued to  labour  faithfully  and  well  for  thirteen  years, 
during  which  time  much  good  and  lasting  work  was 
done,  and  a  cottage  for  the  evangelist's  residence  was 
erected.  In  1900  Mr.  Woodward  took  charge  of  the 
work  at  Forest  Green  and  Ewhurst,  and  was  succeeded 
at  Park  Gate  by  Mr.  W.  Mapstone  (formerly  in  charge 
of  the  Godalming  mission  stations). 

During  Mr.  Mapstone's  superintendence  the  station 


has  been  placed  under  the  oversight  of  the  Dorking 
Church,  the  members  being  enrolled  as  "  village 
members  "    of  that   fellowship. 

In  addition  to  the  Sunday  services  and  Sunday 
school,  weekly  meetings,  prayer  meetings,  and  Bible 
classes  are  held.  There  are  also  a  Band  of  Hope,  a  Coal 
and  Clothing  Club  and  Help-Myself  Benefit  Society,  and 
all  the  adjuncts  of  a  healthy  working  village  church. 



In  1883  Mr.  Charles  Shearman  and  a  band  of  young 
friends  went  out  each  Sunday  from  Dorking,  and  held 
open  air  services  on  the  beautiful  heath  that  adjoins 
the  village.  These  were  so  well  attended  that  it  soon 
became  necessary  to  find  indoor  accommodation.  The 
friends  betook  themselves  to  prayer,  and  the  answer 
came  in  the  form  of  a  very  generous  offer  from  Mr. 
Herbert  Cecil  Drane  of  land  for  the  erection  of  a 
mission  hall,  and  the  promise  of  £50  from  Mr.  E.  M. 
Denny.  A  subscription  list  was  opened,  and  soon  a 
building  was  erected,  capable  of  seating  100  persons, 
at  a  cost  of  £"150. 

The  opening  services  were  held  on  September  17, 
1883,  when  Rev.  J.  Guinness  Rogers  preached.  Reigate, 
Redhill,  Epsom,  Leatherhcad,  Dorking,  and  most  of 
the  villages  around  sent  contingents  of  friends  to  the 

Soon  afterwards  a  Sunday  school  of  fifty  children 
was  formed,  and  other  social  organisations  followed. 

In  1892  Mr.  H.  Wilton  was  appointed  as  evangelist  to 


this  station,  in  conjunction  with  Walton  on  the  Hill. 
For  sixteen  years  he  has  carried  on  an  earnest  and 
faithful  work  in  both  villages. 



Where  the  downs  of  Surrey  begin  to  dip  into  the 
luxuriant  valleys  that  run  midway  through  the  county, 
Walton  on  the  Hill  lies  on  the  verge  of  a  stretch  of 
moorland.  Beautifully  situated  though  it  is,  one  of  its 
oldest  inhabitants  described  it  in  days  gone  by  as  "one 
of  the  darkest  spots  on  God's  fair  earth."  Good  men 
in  the  village  had  long  prayed  that  something  might  be 
done,  but  nothing  was  attempted  till  Mr.  George  Bass, 
one  of  the  Metropolitan  Tabernacle  colporteurs, 
labouring  in  the  Dorking  district,  visited  the  village. 
He  began  by  distributing  books  and  tracts,  and  occa- 
sionally holding  an  open  air  service  on  the  village 

By-and-by,  a  suitable  site  was  offered  for  erecting  a 
chapel,  but  the  opportunity  was  missed.  Afterwards, 
however,  the  same  site  was  sold  to  the  Dorking  Con- 
gregational Church,  and  through  the  generosity  of 
Mr.  E.  M.  Denny,  Mr.  Joseph  Todman,  and  other 
friends,  an  iron  chapel  was  erected.  This  was  opened 
free  of  debt  on  June  11,  1S85,  when  a  sermon  was 
preached  by  Rev.  J.  Hart,  of  Guildford.  Mr.  W.  E. 
Wainwright,  of  Reigate,  continued  the  opening  services 
on  the  following  Sunda)\  A  more  motley  crowd  could 
not  have  been  found  in  the  East  End  of  London  than 
came  the  first  few  Sundays. 


Mr.  Bass  was  appointed  the  first  evangelist,  and  his 
earnest  labours  soon  began  to  tell.  At  first  the  roughs 
of  the  neighbourhood  made  services  almost  impossible  ; 
and  on  one  occasion  every  window  in  the  building  was 
either  broken  or  cracked.  Gradually,  however,  this 
element  was  subdued,  and  some  of  those  who  created 
the  most  disturbance  became  converted  to  God.  Mr. 
Bass  laboured  here  for  seven  years. 

In  1892  Mr.  H.  Witton,  the  present  evangelist,  was 
appointed.  There  are  now  good  congregations  and  a 
choir  of  which  any  village  church  might  be  proud  ;  and 
no  one  could  desire  a  more  reverent  or  attentive  con- 
gregation. Quite  a  number  of  religious  and  social 
organisations  have  been  founded,  and  the  effect  of  the 
mission  is  abundantly  seen  throughout  the  village. 

In  1893  a  cottage  at  the  side  of  the  chapel  was 
erected  by  public  subscription  to  commemorate  the 
faithful  services  rendered  to  the  village  mission  work 
by  Mr.  Todman  of  Dorking. 

Walton  is  rapidly  growing.  Its  breezy  gorse  and 
heather-clad  common,  with  its  far-reaching  views  and 
bracing  air,  make  the  village  a  most  desirable  place  of 
residence.  The  old  mission  chapel  is  quite  inadequate  to 
the  needs  of  this  growing  locality,  and  the  friends  are 
asking  help  towards  the  new  church  that  is  sorely  needed. 
Quite  recently  two  members  of  the  Established  Church, 
pleased  with  the  work  that  has  been  done  at  this  station, 
have  given  £250  for  this  purpose. 


(1672— 1793) 
The   high  road  from  London   to   Winchester,   after 
crossing  the  Hog's  Back,  descends  gradually  into  the 


little  town  of  Farnham.  It  is  said  originally  to  have 
been  Fernham  from  the  quantity  of  fern  growing  there. 
Here  William  Cobbett  was  born  in  a  cottage,  now  an 
inn,  near  the  station,  and  was  buried  in  the  churchyard. 
Toplady,  too.  the  author  of  "  Rock  of  Ages,"  was  born 

Nonconformity  in  Farnham,  as  in  many  other  places, 
owes  its  origin  to  the  vicar  of  the  parish.  Samuel 
Stileman,  a  man  of  great  learning  and  eminent  piety, 
was  ejected  here  in  1662.  He  seems  to  have  been  an 
especially  faithful  preacher,  who  did  not  confine  his 
admonitions  to  general  denunciations  of  sin,  but  went 
into  details  which  sometimes  brought  him  into  difficulty. 
On  one  occasion,  a  gentleman  in  the  neighbourhood 
having  broken  his  neck  by  a  fall  from  his  horse  after 
a  drinking  bout,  Mr.  Stileman  enraged  his  companions 
by  rebuking  the  sin  of  drunkenness  from  the  pulpit. 
Another  time  a  justice  of  the  peace  came  into  the 
church  and  commanded  him  to  come  out  of  the  pulpit. 
He  did  so  to  prevent  disturbance  ;  but  on  a  second 
occasion,  by  the  advice  of  his  friends,  refused,  and  was 
dragged  down  by  the  magistrate  and  committed  to 
prison.  However  he  sued  the  justice  and  got  con- 
siderable damages.  After  the  ejectment  he  continued 
preaching  in  his  own  house,  but  died  the  following 

John  Farrol,  M.A.,  ejected  from  Selborne,  in 
Hampshire,  removed  hither  in  1665,  and  preached 
occasionally,  as  well  as  at  Godalming,  under  which 
town  his  career  is  further  noticed.  Among  the  licences 
in  the  Domestic  State  Papers,  we  find  one  to  John 
Farrol  at  the  house  of  Richard  Collier,  and  another  to 
James  Prince  at  the  house  of  Richard  Whithall.  After 
King  James's  indulgence,  he  returned  to  Guildford,  his 

B  B 


former  abode,  and  divided  his  labours  between  that 
town,  Godalming  and  Farnham. 

The  next  minister  was  also  an  ejected  clergyman. 
William  Bicknel,  M.A.,  was  born  at  Farnham. 
After  his  university  course  at  Oxford,  he  became 
assistant  at  Newport,  in  the  Isle  of  Wight,  and 
then  removed  to  Portsey  (Portsea).  On  relinquishing 
his  living,  Calamy  says,  "he  was  chosen  by  the 
dissenters  of  Farnham  to  be  their  pastor.  He  was 
licensed  on  September  30,  1672,  to  preach  in  his  own 
house,  and  continued  labouring  among  them  till  his 
death,  in  February,  1696."  This  is  the  first  indication 
we  have  of  an  organised  church  in  the  town.  Mr. 
Bicknel  is  described  as  a  man  of  good  learning  and 
serious  religion ;  a  laborious,  methodical  but  plain 
preacher,  who  carefully  watched  over  his  flock,  and 
would  wisely  and  seriously  rebuke  their  miscarriages. 

For  the  next  fifty  or  sixty  years  we  have  only  the 
names  and  dates  of  various  ministers.  Jonathan  Giles, 
ordained  October  16,  1705,  died  1721. 

William  Sheldon  settled  here  in  1721,  continued  till 
1727.     One  William  Jackson  is  also  mentioned. 

Mr.  Sheffield  followed,  remaining  two  years. 

In  1736  George  Hardy  became  minister,  and  remained 
till  1756.  After  him  came  Benjamin  Axford  who 
continued  five  or  six  years. 

The  congregation,  which  had  seriously  declined,  now 
united  with  that  at  Guildford  under  the  pastorate  of 
Rev.  Nehemiah  Ring.  He  was  ordained  April  21, 
1765,  and  preached  alternately  at  the  two  churches  and 
at  Godalming. 

At  length  the  cause  seemed  quite  to  have  died  out. 
Waddington  says,  "  The  attenuated  condition  of  the 
congregation   under  the   Presbyterian     ministers   who 


departed  from  the  faith  renders  it  difficult  to  trace  its 
course.  They  were  known  traditionally  as  Unitarian 
Baptists,  and  became  extinct  about  1790.  Those  who 
rejected  Unitarianism  formed  themselves  into  a  Presby- 
terian Church,  gradually  dwindled  down  to  some  two 
or  three  members,  and  were  subsequently  united  with 
the  Congregational  Church  formed  in  1793." 

The  story  of  the  formation  of  that  new  church  is  an 
interesting  one.  According  to  a  statement  widely 
circulated  at  the  time,  "  It  does  not  appear  that  the 
glad  tidings  of  Salvation  through  the  merits  and 
righteousness  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  have  been 
published  in  this  town  for  a  century  past,"  till  in  1786, 
Rev.  Wm.  Alphonse  Gunn  was  appointed  afternoon 
preacher  at  the  Parish  Church.  The  statement  should 
probably  be  taken  with  some  qualification.  By  Mr. 
Gunn's  ministry  it  pleased  God  to  turn  many  of  the 
inhabitants  of  Farnham  and  the  adjacent  villages  from 
darkness  into  light,  which  so  excited  the  enmity  of  many 
wealthy  persons  that  he  was  dismissed  by  the  vicar  in 
Michaelmas,  1792. 

After  Mr.  Gunn's  dismissal  many  of  his  late  congre- 
gation left  the  parish  church  and  gathered  in  different 
rooms  for  social  worship  and  reading  evangelical 
sermons.  But  the  opposition,  by  representing  the 
meetings  as  seditious  assemblies,  prevailed  on  those 
who  first  lent  the  rooms  to  refuse  them,  so  that 
the  worshippers  had  no  place  in  which  to  assemble. 
The  persecution  did  not  end  here.  A  room  having 
been  obtained  and  duly  licensed,  the  gentry  encouraged 
a  mob  to  stone  the  worshippers,  and  one  Sunday 
evening,  when  near  300  had  assembled  for  service,  they 
were  so  insulted  that  with  difficulty  they  made  their 
escape.     A  magistrate  who  was  appealed  to  refused  to 

B  B  2 


act,  and  they  were  obliged  to  send  ten  miles  for  a 
warrant.  Four  of  the  offenders  were  taken  into  custody, 
but  so  threatening  was  the  mob  that  the  officers  were 
unable  to  take  them  to  Guildford. 

The  next  evening  a  minister  ventured  to  come  from 
Guildford  to  preach.  This  was  the  signal  for  so 
outrageous  a  riot  that  the  assistance  of  the  military  had 
to  be  obtained,  and  a  suit  at  law  ensued,  which  ended 
in  favour  of  the  persecuted  worshippers.  The  outcome 
of  it  all  was  that  Rowland  Hill,  Matthew  Wilks,  and 
other  friends  in  London  so  strongly  pleaded  the  cause 
of  the  oppressed  that  a  piece  of  freehold  land  was  pur- 
chased and  a  building  erected.  This  so  infuriated  the 
mob,  or  their  instigators,  that  the  person  who  sold  the 
land  was  burned  in  effigy.  The  chapel  was  opened 
(though  in  an  unfinished  state)  on  October  16,  1793. 
Revs.  Matthew  Wilks,  John  Eyre,  and  Mr.  Ford  came 
down  from  London,  and  each  preached  a  sermon  on 
the  occasion.  Several  hundreds  of  people  attended 
the  opening,  and  here  the  godly  people  who  followed 
Mr.  Gunn,  with  a  few  faithful  ones  from  the  old  Pres- 
byterian society,  formed  a  Congregational  church. 

Mr.  Gunn,  who  had  by  this  time  removed  to  London, 
gave  his  hearty  support  to  the  movement.  He  was 
invited  to  become  the  pastor,  but  declined — it  is  said, 
because  the  building  was  not  consecrated. 

The  pulpit  of  the  new  chapel  was  for  a  long  time 
supplied  by  a  Mr.  Atley  and  other  ministers.  Then,  in 
April,  1797,  Rev.  John  Savage,  from  the  Academy  at 
Newport  Pagnell  was  ordained  the  first  pastor.  During 
his  pastorate  the  persecution  was  renewed.  Organised 
efforts  were  made  to  stamp  out  Nonconformity,  and  on 
one  occasion  the  roughs  tried  to  occupy  the  chapel. 
Led  by  a  prominent  tradesman,  they  took  their  pipes 


and  their  beer,  and  commenced  a  convivial  meeting. 
This  led  to  a  prosecution,  and  peace  was  for  a  time 
secured.  But  Mr.  Savage  did  not  long  live  to  minister 
to  the  people.  He  died  at  Margate  in  October  of  the 
following  year. 

No  successor  was  found  till  1802,  when  Rev.  W.  L. 
Prattman,  from  Barnard  Castle,  became  the  minister. 
He  remained  ten  years  and  then  returned  to  his  former 
charge.  He  was  followed  by  Rev.  Jos.  Johnson,  from 
Warrington,  who  ministered  to  the  church  for  thirty- 
three  years. 

Rev.  J.  Fernie  was  the  next  minister.  He  was  born 
June  24,  1811,  at  Brewood,  Staffs.,  where  his  father,  of 
the  same  name,  was  then  pastor.  At  the  close  of  his 
apprenticeship  he  became  a  lay  preacher  in  the  villages, 
and  soon  after  entered  Hackney  College  to  study  for 
the  regular  ministry.  He  was  ordained  on  Wednesday, 
October  30,  1844. 

Almost  the  last  public  act  of  Mr.  Johnson,  the  late 
pastor,  was  to  commence  the  ordination  service  of  his 
successor.  He  died  the  same  year  at  the  age  of  sixty- 
seven,  having  been  forty-two  years  in  the  ministry. 

Mr.  Fernie  remained  with  the  church  ten  years,  and 
accepted  a  call  to  Chudleigh,  Devon.  He  died  at 
Dunstable,  after  a  stroke  of  paralysis,  in  1866.  He 
was  a  man  of  high  principle  and  steadfast  faith,  and 
especially  popular  with  the  young.  He  was  succeeded 
by  Rev.  J.  Ketley,  from  Airedale  College,  who  laboured 
for  fourteen  years  with  much  energy  and  acceptance. 
He  afterwards,  like  his  father  before  him,  did  good  service 
as  a  missionary  in  Demerara,  where  he  died  in  1893. 

Mr.  Herbert  Arnold,  a  student  of  Hackney  College, 
was  next  called  to  the  vacant  pulpit.  His  ordination 
took  place  on  Wednesday,  March  8,  1871. 


The  need  of  a  new  church  had  long  been  felt,  and 
under  the  vigorous  guidance  of  the  new  minister  the 
people  now  took  up  the  task  of  building.  In  1872  Mr. 
Thomas  Simpson,  of  Godalming,  offered  to  subscribe 
£100  on  condition  that  a  new  church  was  commenced 
within  six  months.  The  challenge  was  taken  up,  and 
seven  gentlemen  of  Farnham  came  forward  with  £100 
each.  A  freehold  site  was  purchased  for  £600,  and 
memorial  stones  were  laid  on  October  22,  1872,  by 
J.  Kemp-Welch,  Esq.  On  July  16  of  the  following 
year  the  new  building  was  opened.  Rev.  C.  Vince,  of 
Birmingham,  a  native  of  Farnham,  was  the  preacher. 

After  five  years'  successful  work  Mr.  Arnold,  in  1876, 
left  this  rural  town  of  Surrey  for  a  church  in  the  busy 
manufacturing  centre  of  Sheffield,  removing,  in  1879,  to 
Hull.  He  has  since  held  pastorates  at  Croydon, 
Lavender  Hill,  and  Exeter,  and  now  lives  in  honoured 
retirement  at  Harlesden. 

He  was  followed  in  1876  by  Rev.  G.  W.  Joyce,  of 
Tavistock.  Mr.  Joyce  was  especially  zealous  in 
mission  work;  he  established  a  mission  chapel  at 
Shortfield  and  was  the  means  of  re-establishing  the 
work  at  Elstead.  After  nine  years'  pastorate  he  left 
in  1885  for  Wellington,  in  Somerset,  where  he  still 

Rev.  W.  Day,  a  student  of  Hackney  College,  was 
the  next  minister.  During  his  pastorate  he  commenced 
a  Tract  Distribution  Society.  He  left  for  Brisbane  in 
1888,  and  is  now  at  Auckland,  New  Zealand. 

In  1889  Rev.  W.  H.  Richards,  of  Loughborough 
Park,  accepted  the  call  of  the  church.  His  recognition 
took  place  on  June  5.     In  1891  he  removed  to  Cape 


The  following  year  an  invitation  was  sent  to  Rev. 


T.  R.  Grantham,  a  student  of  Hackney  College  ;  he 
was  ordained  in  May,  1892. 

In  1893  the  centenary  of  the  erection  of  the  old 
chapel  in  East  Street  was  celebrated,  and  a  new  hall 
built  to  mark  the  event.  The  hall,  with  a  vestry,  and 
alterations  to  the  chapel  cost  over  £1,000.  In  1898  a 
successful  effort  was  made  to  remove  the  debt  of  £800 
that  remained  on  the  school  building.  A  piece  of  land 
was  also  purchased  at  Wrecclesham,  for  the  erection  of 
a  village  chapel,  which  was  subsequently  built  and 
opened  in  October,  1903. 

After  ten  years  of  strenuous  and  successful  work  Mr. 
Grantham  accepted  an  invitation  to  Dorking ;  and  in 
November,  1903,  Rev.  T.  W.  Ingram,  of  Broadstairs, 
settled  as  pastor.  Mr.  Ingram  had  been  seven  years  at 
Broadstairs,  and  had  previously  laboured  for  a  short 
time  as  a  missionary  in  New  Guinea. 



(Before  1843) 

There  is  no  record  of  the  origin  of  this  station,  or  of 
the  building  of  the  chapel,  but  it  must  have  been  earlier 
than  1843,  probably  during  the  ministry  of  Rev.  J. 

In  1864  it  was  proposed  to  form  a  branch  church, 
several  persons  desiring  that  the  Lord's  Supper  should 
be  administered  at  Bourne,  but  after  discussion  it  was 
decided  that  for  the  present  the  villagers  should  com- 
municate at  the  town  church.     On  April  5,   1867,  six 


men  and  five  women  from  Bourne  were  received  into 
fellowship.  The  first  evangelist,  a  Mr.  Aylwin,  was 
appointed  in  1871.  After  some  time  he  was  followed 
by  a  Mr.  Hedgelong,  who  remained  about  eleven  years. 
He  also  had  charge  of  a  mission  at  Shortfield,  near 
Frensham.  From  the  first  there  has  been  a  flourishing 
Sunday  school  at  Bourne,  conducted  chiefly  by  teachers 
from  Farnham ;  and  between  1892  and  1902  the  buildings 
were  twice  enlarged.  Since  1894  ^-ev-  D.  Darlow, 
formerly  of  Armitage,  Staffordshire,  has  had  the  over- 
sight of  the  village  stations,  residing  at  Bourne,  and 
assisted  by  a  numerous  band  of  lay  preachers. 



Shortfield  chapel  is  situated  in  the  parish  of  Fren- 
sham. Open  air  services  were  conducted  here  in  1877 
by  Mr.  Hedgelong,  the  evangelist  of  the  Farnham 
church.  The  congregations  were  so  large  and  encourag- 
ing that  it  was  resolved  at  once  to  provide  a  mission 
church,  and  a  wooden  structure  was  erected  capable  of 
seating  160  persons.  Mr.  Hedgelong  continued  a 
useful  work  until  1886,  when  he  removed  to  Wormley 
Hill  and  the  other  Godalming  stations. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  Joseph  Smith,  who  only 
remained  a  year.  Rev.  W.  E.  Day  followed,  and  after 
a  short  stay  Mr.  A.  J.  Owens  was  appointed.  What  is 
said  above  of  Bourne  since  1894  applies  to  Shortfield 
and  Wrecclesham. 




In  this  growing  village  there  was  no  free  church 
when,  in  1902,  a  piece  of  ground  was  bought  by  Rev. 
T.  R.  Grantham  for  £75,  collected  for  the  purpose  in 
the  county.  Here  a  small  school  chapel,  costing  about 
£200,  was  opened  in  the  following  year. 

Several  other  village  stations  have  been  temporarily 
supplied  from  Farnham  in  bygone  years. 


(1687— 1S19) 

Reigate  is  an  old  town  situated  in  the  very  heart  of 
Surrey,  amid  some  of  its  richest  scenery.  Its  name, 
however,  is  modern,  for  in  Domesday  Book  it  is  Cherche- 
felle.  Not  until  the  end  of  the  thirteenth  century  did 
the  town  get  its  present  name,  which  is  said  to  be 
derived  from  Ridgegate,  the  passage  through  the  Ridge. 

James  Waters  was  the  first  minister  of  a  Noncon- 
formist church  here.  He  received  his  training  for 
the  ministry  at  the  Academy  conducted  by  Thomas 
Doolittle,  the  last  survivor  in  London  of  the  ejected 

Mr.  Waters  does  not  seem  to  have  commenced  minis- 
terial work  at  once,  but  accepted  an  appointment  as 
tutor  in  the  family  of  Lord  Holies,  and  later  as  tutor 
and  chaplain  to    Mr.   Evelyn,  of  Xutfield,  in   Surrey. 


Here  he  preached  privately  until  1687,  when  he  com- 
menced a  public  ministry  in  Reigate.  He  removed  to 
Uxbridge  in  May,  1692.  He  wrote  a  vigorous  defence 
of  the  validity  of  non-prelatic  ordination. 

During  the  eighteenth  century  we  have  only  the 
scantiest  records  concerning  this  church.  Richard,  or 
Ralph,  Arnold  was  minister  in  1715,  John  Hulme  in 
1726,  and  William  Johnson  was  ordained  October  6, 
1736.  Mr.  Johnson  only  held  the  pastorate  two  years, 
removing  to  Romsey  in  1738. 

Waddington  mentions  a  Richard  Rist  as  minister  in 
1763,  but  adds  "it  is  said  that  there  was  no  stated 
preaching  for  twenty  or  thirty  years  before  1773,  when 
a  week-day  lecture  was  given  once  a  fortnight  by  a 
minister  in  the  neighbourhood." 

No  further  account  of  the  church  can  be  found  till 
1801.  Like  many  another  during  the  Arian  lapse,  it 
had  fallen  into  complete  decay.  For  twenty  years  the 
old  meeting  house  was  closed,  and  owing  to  the  action 
of  two  descendants  of  former  trustees  it  could  not  be 
reopened.  But  a  good  friend  came  forward  in  that 
generous  builder  and  sustainer  of  churches,  Mr.  Thomas 
Wilson.  He  traced  the  heir-at-law  of  the  last  surviving 
trustee  to  Newgate,  where  he  was  imprisoned  for  debt, 
and  paid  him  twenty  guineas  as  an  acknowledgment  for 
conveying  the  premises  to  fresh  trustees.  Then  he  put 
the  chapel  into  repair  at  a  cost  of  £150,  and  on  April  9, 
1801,  it  was  reopened  by  Rowland  Hill.  It  was  to  be 
supplied  by  students  until  a  resident  minister  could  be 
appointed,  who  would  visit  the  surrounding  villages. 

The  old  chapel  was  not  opened  without  opposition. 
On  one  occasion  the  service  was  brought  to  an  abrupt 
close  by  the  scattering  of  some  substance  which  set  all 
the  congregation  coughing  and  sneezing.     Another  time 


an  ass  was  driven  into  the  chapel.  After  another  dis- 
turbance the  Dissenting  Deputies  prosecuted  the  offen- 
der, who  was  fined  £20  at  quarter  sessions. 

The  population  of  Reigate  at  this  time  was  only 
2,300,  yet  it  sent  two  members  to  Parliament.  Rowland 
Hill  used  to  say  it  was  the  worst  place  he  ever  visited. 
No  one  would  entertain  the  preachers,  and  for  a  time 
the  chapel  was  closed.  But  Mr.  Wilson  made  another 
attempt  to  revive  the  cause,  and  as  the  old  chapel  was 
much  decayed,  he  built  at  his  own  expense  a  new  one 
which  cost  £350.  Having  in  mind  the  past  difficulties, 
he  built  it  so  that  it  could  be  converted  into  two 
cottages  if  necessary.  It  was  opened  in  June,  1819, 
with  sermons  by  Rev.  James  Stratten,  of  Paddington, 
and  Dr.  Harris,  of  Hoxton  Academy. 

The  first  minister  was  Rev.  John  Woodbridge,  a 
student  from  Hoxton.  So  strong  was  the  prejudice  in 
the  town  that  he  could  get  no  lodging.  He  had  made 
up  his  mind  to  walk  to  Dorking,  a  distance  often  miles, 
when  he  was  told  that  lodgings  might  be  obtained  at  a 
farm  house  two  miles  away.  He  found  the  family 
willing  to  take  him.  But  he  also  found  them  utterly 
ignorant  of  spiritual  matters  ;  family  worship  they  had 
never  heard  of;  they  wanted  to  know  if  Mr.  Wood- 
bridge's  Bible  was  the  same  as  the  clergyman  read 
from.  The  minister's  coming  was  the  beginning  of  better 
things ;  the  family  attended  the  chapel,  and  some  of 
its  members  became  the  firstfruits  of  his  ministry. 

After  leaving  Reigate  Mr.  Woodbridge  laboured  at 
Bristol,  and  afterwards  went  as  missionary  to  Jamaica. 
He  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  Dallinson,  who  formed  a 
church  of  six  members,  but  resigned  after  a  pastorate 
of  two  or  three  years  and  the  church  was  again  supplied 
by  students. 


Slowly  the  congregation  grew.  Instead  of  converting 
the  chapel  into  cottages  it  became  necessary  to  erect  a 
larger  building.  Once  again  Mr.  Wilson's  generosity 
came  into  exercise.  He  erected  a  considerably  larger 
chapel,  with  schoolroom  attached.  The  former  pastor, 
Rev.  John  Woodbridge,  and  the  Rev.  A.  Dawson,  of 
Dorking,  preached  at  the  opening  services,  which  were 
held  on  September  n,  1831. 

In  1833  Mr.  Thomas  Rees,  of  Highbury  College,  was 
invited  to  the  pastorate.  He  settled  at  Midsummer, 
but  was  not  ordained  till  June  17,  1835.  Mr.  Rees 
was  born  at  Carmarthen  December  9,  1805,  and  went 
to  London  at  the  age  of  fourteen.  At  one  time  he  was 
greatly  inclined  to  adopt  the  stage  as  a  profession,  but 
went  into  business  instead;  afterwards,  much  against 
the  advice  of  his  friends,  he  gave  it  up,  and  entered 
Highbury  College. 

Mr.  Rees  formed  a  new  church  of  some  eight  or  ten 
members,  and  for  over  twenty  years  did  good  and 
honourable  service.  Then,  owing  to  failure  of  voice,  on 
March  24,  1856,  he  resigned  his  charge,  to  the  great 
regret  of  his  people.  He  became  secretary  of  Mill  Hill 
Grammar  School,  which  position  he  held  till  1866. 
After  some  years  of  honourable  retirement  at  Lewis- 
ham,  he  died  October  17,  1876,  in  his  seventy-first 

On  May  30,  1856,  Rev.  G.  J.  Adeney  commenced  his 
pastorate.  He  was  born  in  London,  August  17,  1818. 
His  father,  an  officer  in  Wellington's  army,  is  said  to 
have  had  a  common  ancestry  with  Richard  Baxter. 
After  a  brilliant  career  at  school  (where  it  is  said  that 
Charles  Dickens  was  his  schoolfellow)  he  refused 
a  tempting  offer  to  go  to  Oxford,  as  it  would  have 
involved  the  renunciation  of  Nonconformity.     So    he 

Rev.  G.  J.  Adeney,  Reigate. 


entered  into  business,  and  devoted  his  leisure  to  study 
and  to  Christian  work.  He  preached  in  connection 
with  the  "  Metropolitan  Missionary  Society,"  chiefly 
conducted  by  evangelical  churchmen,  and  the  London 
Itinerant  Society.  In  1842  he  accepted  an  invitation 
to  a  pastorate  at  Ealing,  where  he  remained  fourteen 
years,  until  his  removal  to  Reigate. 

In  1857  the  chapel  was  enlarged  to  accommodate  200 
more  persons,  at  a  cost  of  £1,100.  Four  years  later  a 
new  schoolroom  and  class  rooms  were  built  at  a  further 
cost  of  £500,  and  the  whole  amount  was  raised  by  the 
opening.     These  were  again  enlarged  in  1865. 

In  1869  the  church  lost  by  death  Rev.  Charles 
Thomas  Smith,  who  had  lived  for  some  years  in  the 
town.  He  had  formerly  laboured  long  among  the 
villages  of  the  country  ;  and  when  Mr.  Rees  resolved 
to  commence  services  at  Redhill  Mr.  Smith  took  a 
small  house  at  his  own  expense  and  converted  the 
lower  part  into  a  kind  of  chapel  to  hold  sixty  or 
seventy  persons.  This  was  only  one  instance  of  many 
where  he  used  his  private  means  in  erecting  or  repairing 
places  for  worship.  During  the  last  few  years  of  his 
life  he  was  a  great  invalid.  He  died  March  23,  at  the 
age  of  eighty-six. 

Another  enlargement  of  the  church  took  place  in 
1869.  The  building  at  this  time  was  lengthened 
twenty  feet,  a  new  stone  front  was  erected,  the  interior 
reseated,  a  new  organ  gallery  added,  and  the  lighting 
and  ventilation  much  improved.  The  whole  cost  of  the 
work  was  £1,300.  The  reopening  services  took  place 
on  Thursday,  September  16.  These  improvements 
were  followed  in  1877  by  an  organ  costing  £350. 

On  June  21  and  22,  1881,  services  were  held  in  com- 
memoration of  the  jubilee  of  the  church,  and  the  twenty- 


fifth  year  of  Mr.  Adeney's  pastorate.  Dr.  Parker 
preached,  and  a  substantial  testimonial,  including  a 
purse  of  £250,  was  presented  to  Mr.  Adeney. 

The  steady  growth  of  the  church  at  Reigate  seems  to 
be  marked  by  successive  enlargements  of  the  buildings. 
In  1884  another  addition  was  made  of  class-rooms  at  a 
cost  of  £576,  and  in  1877  the  church  was  again 
renovated  and  improved. 

In  1891  Mr.  Adeney  completed  the  fiftieth  year  of 
his  ministry.  The  year  1895  was  memorable  for  the 
settlement  of  Rev.  G.  Currie  Martin,  M.A.,  B.D.,  of 
Nairn,  N.B.  Mr.  Martin  was  invited  as  co-pastor  for 
two  years,  to  become  sole  pastor  at  the  end  of  that 
time.  Accordingly,  in  1897,  Mr.  Adeney  terminated  his 
long  ministry  at  Reigate,  and  on  September  29  bade 
farewell  to  the  church.  At  a  valedictory  meeting  he 
was  presented  with  a  cheque  for  £"300  and  an  album 
containing  the  signatures  of  the  subscribers.  He  still 
continued  to  reside  in  the  town  until  his  death  on 
August  26,  1899.  Mr.  Adeney  was  an  effective  preacher 
and  a  racy  platform  speaker ;  and  was  one  of  the  first 
to  introduce  the  children's  address  into  the  services. 

On  October  5,  1898,  Mr.  F.  Higgins,  who  had  occu- 
pied the  position  of  evangelist  in  South  Park,  was 
ordained  assistant  minister. 

In  1903  Rev.  G.  Currie  Martin  removed  to  Bradford, 
Yorks.,  to  undertake  the  Chair  of  New  Testament 
Criticism  in  the  United  College  there.  On  October  22 
of  the  same  year  Rev.  Selwyn  J.  Evans  of  Newport 
Pagnell,  a  Cheshunt  student,  was  invited  to  the  pas- 
torate, and  still  ministers  to  the  people  with  great 
acceptance.  Another  renovation  of  the  church  took 
place  in  1904. 




Kingswood  is  a  scattered  village  on  the  Brighton 
Road,  not  far  from  Banstead  Heath. 

In  1863  workers  from  Redhill  and  Reigate  came 
over  and  held  services  in  cottages  and  barns. 

In  1871  Mr.  Henry  Fowkes,  who  had  recently  come 
to  reside  in  the  neighbourhood,  made  the  acquaintance 
of  Mr.  W.  Smith,  of  Redhill,  who  was  then  conducting 
services  in  a  cottage.  Seeing  the  necessity  for  a  more 
suitable  building  he  purchased  land  and  erected  the 
present  chapel.  Here  Mr.  Smith  carried  on  the  work 
for  some  twelve  years.  Mr.  Fowkes  only  lived  a  few 
months  after  his  generous  action,  but  since  his  death 
Mrs.  Fowkes  has  supported  the  work,  and  her  many 
kindly  acts  will  long  be  remembered  by  the  congrega- 
tion. Since  the  resignation  of  Mr.  Smith  the  pulpit 
has  been  supplied  by  the  Congregational  Church  at 



The  Mission  Hall  in  this  village  was  built  in  1885  by 
George  Taylor,  Esq.,  who  was  greatly  impressed  with 
the  spiritual  needs  of  the  neighbourhood;  and  the 
greater  part  of  the  current  expenses  are  still  borne 
by  him.  Some  years  later  arrangements  were  made 
with  the  Reigate  church  to  supply  the  pulpit  in  con- 
junction with  the  agents  of  the  Evangelisation  Society. 


The  Sunday  school  was  founded  by  Mr.  Smith  and 
Mr.  Peek,  of  Reigate,  both  of  whom  have  long  since 
been  called  to  their  rest.  There  are  now  160  scholars 
on  the  books,  and  a  strong  Band  of  Hope  numbers 
ninety  members.  Mr.  Wells,  of  Kingswood,  has  suc- 
ceeded to  the  work  commenced  by  Mr.  Smith  and  Mr. 
Peek,  and  is  now  superintendent  of  both  these  institu- 


(1706 — 1802) 

About  thirty  miles  from  London,  in  the  very  heart  of 
Surrey,  the  traveller  toward  Portsmouth  descends  by 
a  somewhat  steep  hill  to  the  River  Wey  ere  he  rises 
again  to  the  glorious  view  that  the  Hog's  Back  affords. 
On  the  side  of  this  hill  lies  Guildford,  the  capital  town 
of  the  county. 

Its  history  is  ancient,  like  that  of  many  Surrey  towns. 
Its  earliest  mention  is  in  the  will  of  King  Alfred,  who 
bequeathed  it  to  his  nephew  Athelwald.  Historians 
have  variously  endeavoured  to  account  for  its  name. 
Gilford,  Guldeford,  Goldford,  and  Geldford  are  just  a 
few  of  the  suggested  derivations. 

Nonconformity  has  had  a  home  in  the  town  ever 
since  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century.  John 
Manship,  the  rector  of  the  parish  of  St.  Nicholas, 
after  being  ejected  from  his  benefice  still  lived  and 
practised  as  a  physician  in  the  town.  That  he  attended 
to  the  healing  of  souls  as  well  as  bodies  appears  from 
the  license  to  preach  in  his  own  house  which  was 
granted  in  1672  at  the  request  of  John  Clayton. 


Richard  Bures,  Vicar  of  Stourmouth,  also  resided 
here  after  his  ejectment,  and  preached  for  several  years, 
as  he  found  opportunity.  During  this  time  he  was 
twice  imprisoned  for  preaching ;  first  in  the  Marshalsea, 
in  Southwark,  and  then  in  Windsor  Castle.  He  after- 
ward removed  to  Farnborough  and  Frimley,  and  then  in 
1692  accepted  a  pastoral  charge  in  Hatton  Garden.  He 
died  May  7,  1697.  Calamy  speaks  of  him  as  "  a  very 
valuable  man,  of  the  old  Puritan  stamp,  of  great  gravity 
and  an  excellent  preacher." 

John  Farrol,  Vicar  of  Selborne,  in  Hampshire,  and 
Fellow  of  Magdalen  College,  Oxford,  also  resided  here, 
and  boarded  young  gentlemen  who  went  to  the  free 
school.  He  seems  to  have  been  a  man  of  particularly 
meek  and  inoffensive  disposition ;  finding  his  chief 
delight  in  his  garden  and  botanical  studies.  When  the 
Corporation  oath  was  imposed,  he  removed  to  Farnham, 
and  sometimes  preached  at  Godalming,  under  which 
town  his  career  is  further  noticed. 

Guildford  appears  in  the  list  of  conventicles  reported 
to  Archbishop  Sheldon,  in  1669.  In  the  house  of  John 
Clarke,  from  60  to  100  "  Anabaptists"  assembled,  with 
Mr.  Pace,  Mr.  Rewell  and  Mr.  Mayo  as  teachers. 

Nonconformity  must  have  obtained  a  strong  hold  on 
the  town,  for  in  1672,  in  addition  to  the  licence  already 
referred  to  as  granted  to  Mr.  Manship,  two  others  were 
granted ;  one  to  the  house  of  John  Woodyard  as  a 
Presbyterian  meeting  place,  and  the  other  to  the  house 
of  Thomas  Bradfold. 

Mr.  David  Williamson  tells  us  of  an  indictment,  dated 
August  21, 1680,  which  declares  that  thirty  known  persons 
and  158  unknown,  all  above  the  age  of  sixteen  years, 
"  were  present  at  an  Assembly,  Conventicle  or  Meeting, 
under  colour  or  pretexte  of  exercise  of  Religion,  in  other 

c  c 


mannere  than  accordinge  to  the  Liturgie  and  practice 
of  the  Church  of  England,  in  the  Messuage  or  house  in 
Artington,  in  the  parish  of  St.  Nicholas,  Guildford,  in 
the  said  County,  and  being  in  a  house  of  Edward  Fford 
of  Guildford  aforesaide,  which  is  supposed  to  be  tenanted 
by  Thomas  Bradfold  of  Guildford  Clothier  and  John 
Horsnaille  of  Guildford  aforesaide,  dyer,  Mr.  Richard 
Bures  being  preacher  or  teacher." 

The  names  recorded  in  the  indictment  seem  to  have 
included  some  of  the  principal  tradesmen  of  the  town. 
Amongst  others  were  Robert  Williamson,  an  ancestor 
of  the  present  family  of  that  name ;  Wm.  Hill,  a 
draper  and  town  councilman,  whom  James  II.  removed 
from  his  office  in  1687,  when  the  town's  charter  was 
taken  away;  Joseph  Nettles  and  his  wife  (this  good 
man  was  the  founder  of  Nettles'  Charity,  an  educational 
endowment  in  connection  with  the  grammar  school,  by 
which  students  have  been  sent  to  college  for  now  more 
than  200  years)  ;  Angelo  Burt,  the  clothier,  and  mayor 
in  1695  ;  George  Snelling,  son  of  James  Snelling,  the 
Quaker,  who,  with  seventy  others,  had  been  committed 
to  the  White  Lion  Prison,  in  Southwark ;  James 
Smallpiece,  member  of  a  family  connected  with  the 
town  for  400  years ;  and  Lady  Elizabeth  Stoughton, 
wife  of  Sir  Nicholas  Stoughton,  Bart.,  a  member  of 
a  family  that  has  seven  times  represented  Guildford  in 

The  old  meeting  house  was  built  by  one  John 
Horsnaile,  about  1690,  and  was  sold  by  his  widow  in 
1723  to  trustees  for  the  Congregational  Church,  which 
had  been  formed  in  the  meantime. 

In  1702  Rev.  Theophilus  Lobb,  M.D.,  F.R.S.,  came 
to  the  town.  He  was  born  August  17,  1678,  his  father 
being  a   dissenting    minister  in    London  ;    and  on  his 


mother's  side  he  was  descended  from  two  ejected 
ministers.  He  was  educated  under  the  care  of  Rev. 
Thos.  Goodwin,  of  Pinner.  At  Guildford  he  both 
preached  and  practised  as  a  physician.  Removing 
thence,  he  lived  successively  at  Dorchester,  Yeovil,  and 
Witham,  and  died  in  London  in  his  eighty-fifth  year. 

The  date  when  the  Congregational  Church  was 
actually  founded  is  unknown  :  but  it  was  not  later  than 
1706.  On  November  5  in  that  year  eleven  members, 
including  the  above-named  John  Horsnaile,  signed  a 
call  to  Mr.  Roger  Foster  to  assume  the  pastorate.  He 
accepted  the  call  on  or  before  December  31,  on  which 
day  the  members  signed  a  noteworthy  covenant  and 
confession  of  faith.  They  declare  their  assent  to  "the 
Assembly's  Confession,  the  Savoy  Confession,  and  allso 
the  doctrinal  part  of  the  Articles  of  the  Church  of 
England,"  all  which  they  regard  as  "  for  substance  the 
same."  They  affirm  the  cardinal  principle  of  Congrega- 
tionalism —  "  Every  rightly  constituted  Church  of 
Christ  ought  to  be  built  up  of  living  stones,  ready 
fitted  and  prepared  by  the  Holy  Spirit  for  that  spiritual 
building  "  ;  but  will  not  refuse  to  admit  any,  "  though 
differing  from  us  in  circumstantials,  provided  they  hold 
the  same  Head,  Christ  Jesus,  the  same  faith,  and  walk 
answerable  thereto  in  their  lives  and  conversation."  The 
remainder  of  the  document  contains  rules  for  discipline. 

During  Mr.  Foster's  ministry,  Rev.  John  Brane,  who 
had  retired  from  the  rectory  of  Godstone,  and  lived 
near  the  meeting  house,  became  so  interested  in  the 
services,  that  he  left  the  bulk  of  his  property  to  trustees 
for  the  benefit  of  the  Congregational  ministers  of 
Guildford  and  Dorking. 

In  1715  Mr.  Foster  was  accustomed  to  "  preach  a 
lecture  "  at  Godalmiog,     R    died  in  1721. 

c  c  2 


Two  years  before  this,  on  July  22, 1719,  John  Preddon 
had  been  called  to  the  pastorate.  In  1728  he  removed 
to  Chichester.  From  this  time  the  church  gradually 
declined ;  it  is  said  that  several  dissenters,  on  becoming 
members  of  the  Corporation,  "  practically  abandoned 
their  principles."  For  the  next  sixty  or  seventy  years 
the  records  are  very  scanty.  John  Phillips  is  believed 
to  have  succeeded  Mr.  Preddon  ;  the  name  of  Petts  is 
also  found.  About  1773  "  the  church  was  restored  to 
some  degree  of  vitality  " ;  subsequently  George  Pollen 
and  Mr.  Ellis  are  referred  to  as  ministers,  but  some- 
what indistinctly. 

The  church  book  from  1707  to  1771  contains  official 
receipts  for  no  less  than  224  small  sums  contributed  by 
the  congregation  on  appeals  in  the  way  of  briefs. 
These  were  for  all  sorts  of  purposes,  building  of  parish 
churches,  making  good  losses  by  fire  or  tempest,  etc. 
For  some  years  the  church  enjoyed  the  occasional 
ministrations  of  the  Rev.  Nehemiah  Ring,  of  Godalm- 
ing.  When  weather  and  health  permitted  he  would 
come  over  and  hold  services  in  the  old  meeting  house. 
When  he  was  no  longer  able  to  preach  the  chapel 
was  closed. 

But  with  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century 
better  days  came  to  the  old  cause.  In  1801  Rev. 
James  Bowden,  of  Tooting,  secretary  of  the  "  Surrey 
Mission,"  called  the  attention  of  Mr.  Thomas  Wilson  to 
the  state  of  things  in  Guildford.  The  meeting  house 
was  in  a  ruinous  condition,  the  trustees  were  all  dead, 
the  writings  were  lost,  and  the  endowment  already 
referred  to,  left  by  Rev.  John  Brane,  was  in  danger  of 
being  lost  to  Guildford,  as  it  had  become  wholly  appro- 
priated by  an  antinomian  minister  at  Dorking. 

Mr.  Wilson   acted  with   his  usual  promptitude.     He 


went  at  once  to  Guildford,  with  a  well-known  noncon- 
formist solicitor,  Mr.  Thomas  Pellatt,  took  possession 
of  the  building,  and  gave  instructions  to  a  builder  to 
pull  it  down  and  erect  another.  The  cost,  £700>  he 
entirely  defrayed  himself.  The  new  chapel  was  opened 
June  16,  1802.  Mr.  Griffin,  of  Portsea,  preached  in  the 
morning,  and  Dr.  Bogue,  of  Gosport,  in  the  evening. 

For  a  time  the  congregation  was  supplied  from 
Hoxton  Academy.  Then  John  Grey  was  called  to  the 
pastorate,  and  was  ordained  September  11,  1804. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  John  Clunie  from  Hoxton  ; 
who  was  set  apart  to  the  pastoral  office  on 
September  20,  1809.  But  from  some  cause  dissension 
arose  and  the  church  was  broken  up. 

Things  must  have  soon  righted  themselves,  for  in 
December,  1811,  the  Rev.  Stephen  Percy,  "after  being 
unanimously  approved  by  the  subscribers,"  was  invited 
to  the  pastorate.  Mr.  Percy  was  born  at  Coventry, 
January  27,  1783  ;  and  was  sent  to  supply  at  Guildford 
while  a  student  at  Hoxton  Academy.  His  ordination 
took  place  on  September  16,  1812. 

With  the  advent  of  Mr.  Percy  came  brighter  days  for 
the  church;  the  congregations  so  increased  that  an 
enlargement  of  the  chapel  became  necessary.  A  vestry 
was  built,  and  an  end  gallery  erected ;  and,  later  on, 
side  galleries  were  added. 

Not  only  in  Guildford  was  the  influence  of  Mr.  Percy 
felt,  but  in  the  surrounding  villages.  He  aided  in  the 
erection  of  several  village  chapels,  and  for  some  years 
was  one  of  the  secretaries  of  the  Surrey  Mission  and  the 
first  local  secretary  of  the  Bible  Society. 

As  years  went  on  the  necessity  for  a  new  building 
was  keenly  felt.  The  old  chapel  is  spoken  of  as  low, 
hidden,   contracted    and    gloomy,   with    an    uninviting 


exterior,  and  an  extremely  disagreeable  entrance.  The 
property  too,  in  the  immediate  vicinity,  had  greatly 
deteriorated.  But  Mr.  Percy  was  now  an  old  man,  and 
did  not  feel  equal  to  the  task  of  building  a  new  sanc- 
tuary. An  assistant  minister  was  tried,  but  the  result 
was  not  satisfactory ;  and  after  forty-eight  years  of 
service  the  aged  pastor  retired  from  office  on  February  i, 
1859  '■>  arrangements  being  made  to  secure  him  an  annuity 
for  the  remainder  of  his  life.  His  declining  years  were 
spent  in  Guildford,  and  at  the  age  of  eighty-five  he 
passed  to  his  rest  in  April,  1868.  His  funeral  sermon 
was  preached  by  Rev.  John  Hart  from  Heb.  vii.  23. 

Mr.  Percy  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  John  Jones,  of 
Hackney  College,  son  of  a  clergyman  of  the  Established 
Church.  His  ordination  took  place  on  July  26,  1859, 
and  awakened  considerable  interest,  no  similar  service 
having  been  held  for  nearly  half  a  century.  We  read 
however,  that  "the  church  partially  rallied,  but  the  new 
pastor  did  not  gain  strength  for  the  work  of  building 
and  withdrew  in  i860." 

The  following  year  Rev.  J.  Hart  accepted  the  charge. 
Mr.  Hart  was  born  at  Stirling  in  1818.  He  early 
engaged  in  evangelistic  services  in  the  south  of  Scot- 
land ;  and  after  attending  classes  at  the  Evangelical 
Union  Theological  Academy  and  at  the  University  of 
Glasgow,  he  accepted  a  charge  at  Hamilton  in  1847. 
Thence  he  removed  to  Salem  Chapel,  Great  Bridge 
(Staffordshire),  and  two  years  later  to  Houghton  (Hunt- 
ingdonshire), where  he  remained  nine  years.  Then  came 
the  invitation  to  Guildford.  Mr.  Hart  made  it  a  con- 
dition of  his  acceptance  that  a  new  building  should  be 
erected  in  a  better  part  of  the  town.  As  1862  was 
claimed  as  the  bicentenary  of  the  church,  it  was 
resolved  to  celebrate  the  occasion   by  the  erection  of 

Rev.  John   Hart,   Guildford, 


a  memorial  chapel.  The  members  of  the  church 
and  congregation  flung  themselves  heartily  into  the 
project,  and  in  a  short  time  nearly  £1,000  were 

A  site  was  purchased  for  £600,  and  on  February  19, 
1863,  the  foundation  stone  was  laid  by  J.  Remington 
Mills,  Esq.,  M.P.  On  September  24,  1863,  the  new 
chapel  was  opened,  amid  great  rejoicing.  Revs.  Samuel 
Martin  and  H.  Allon  were  the  preachers.  The  total 
cost  of  the  new  buildings  was  £3,261.  Five  years  later, 
on  Sunday,  September  27,  1868,  the  old  chapel  was 
reopened  as  a  mission  hall,  and  school. 

At  Guildford  Mr.  Hart  found  his  life's  work.  Under 
his  energetic  guidance  the  church  grew  till  it  numbered 
500  communicants,  whilst  in  the  village  churches 
around  the  average  number  of  attendants  was  1,700  ; 
and  in  the  various  Sunday  schools  were  2,000  children 
of  which  Guildford  contributed  nearly  1,000.  He 
united  the  village  churches  and  stations  into  one 
fellowship,  under  the  central  church,  and  organised 
a  scheme  of  lay  preaching  which  has  ever  since  been 
one  of  the  most  successful  in  the  country.  Six  old 
places  of  worship  were  reconstructed  at  a  cost  of  £1,400, 
and  four  new  chapels  built  at  an  outlay  of  £6,000.  Mr. 
David  Williamson  has  written  of  him  : — 

"  He  was  a  staunch  Nonconformist.  He  studied  men 
and  what  post  they  could  best  fill.  A  bit  of  a  dictator 
he  certainly  was,  and  where  ruling  was  required  he 
never  turned  from  doing  it.  He  was  a  manly  Christian 
teacher,  tender  and  true  in  all  his  friendships,  endowed 
with  a  genius  for  organisation,  economical  that  he  might 
more  liberally  help  others." 

In  1863  he  assisted,  with  two  of  the  deacons,  Dr. 
Fernandez   and    David  Williamson,   in  the  formation 


of  the  Surrey  Congregational  Union,  of  which  he  was 
president  in  1871. 

With  the  growth  of  the  Sunday  school  came  the 
necessity  for  still  further  extension.  For  some  time 
there  was  difficulty  in  securing  a  site,  but  the  premises 
adjoining  the  chapel  were  at  length  obtained;  and  on 
September  26,  1883,  the  memorial  stones  of  the  new 
buildings  were  laid  by  Mr.  D.  Williamson,  who  had 
been  superintendent  of  the  school  for  twenty-five 
years.  The  Hall  was  opened  on  September  10  the 
following  year.  The  total  cost  of  the  building,  which 
included  lecture  hall,  school  and  class-rooms,  and 
rooms  for  Young  Men's  and  Young  Women's  Christian 
Associations,  was  £5,400;  of  this,  £500  was  taken 
at  the  foundation  laying,  and  £760  at  the  opening 

In  the  course  of  Mr.  Hart's  pastorate  888  names 
were  added  to  the  church  roll,  including  those  from 
the  mission  stations.  In  these  two  paid  evangelists 
were  employed,  assisted  by  a  retired  clergyman  of  the 
Established  Church,  and  about  forty  lay  brethren. 

After  a  pastorate  of  twenty-seven  years  Mr.  Hart 
resigned  in  1888.  He  preached  farewell  sermons  on 
Sunday,  March  18  ;  and  was  presented  with  an  illu- 
minated address  bearing  the  signatures  of  300  of  his 
friends,  and  a  life  annuity  of  £200.  As  long  as  his 
health  permitted  he  took  occasional  services.  He  was 
assailed  by  serious  illness  early  in  1895,  and  fell  asleep 
on  Saturday,  March  2,  almost  his  last  words  being 
"  All's  well." 

Mr.  Hart  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  Wm.  Houghton, 
who  received  his  theological  education  at  Airedale 
College.  He  had  held  pastorates  at  Allerton,  Bradford 
(1871 — 79),  and  Christchurch  (1879 — 88).     He  remained 


at  Guildford   till    1897,  when    he   removed   to   Upper 
Norwood,  where  he  still  ministers. 

Rev.  Alex.  Cowe,  M.A.,  the  present  pastor,  was  a 
Cheshunt  student  who  had  ministered  at  Hillhead, 
Glasgow,  from  1884  to  1897.  He  has  worthily  main- 
tained the  traditions  of  the  church  unto  this  day. 


(1825— 1874) 

The  chapel  here  was  built  in  1825,  and  set  apart  for 
public  worship  on  October  4,  of  that  year.  Sermons 
were  preached  to  crowded  congregations,  and  the 
whole  cost  of  the  erection  was  paid  the  day  after  the 
chapel  was  opened.  Rev.  B.  Haynes  took  charge  of 
the  station  for  the  Surrey  Mission,  under  whose 
auspices  it  was  carried  on  till  1874.  The  premises 
were  then  offered  to  the  Guildford  Church,  which  took 
the  oversight  of  the  work  assisted  by  several  preaching 
brethren  from  the  Presbyterian  Church  at  Aldershot. 
For  many  years  Mr.  Daniel  Deedman  was  the  local 
superintendent  and  was  greatly  beloved.  His  successor 
is  Mr.E.  Cranstone. 

(1836— 1870) 

Shamley  Green  is  a  pretty  village  about  five  miles 
south-west  of  Guildford.     A  chapel  was  erected  here  in 


1836,  and  had  its  own  pastor;  there  was,  however,  in 
these  early  days  some  connection  with  the  church  at 
Guildford,  as  the  names  of  three  of  the  Guildford 
deacons  are  included  in  the  first  trust  deeds.  After  a 
time  the  interest  declined,  and  at  length  the  building 
passed  into  the  hands  of  another  denomination.  In 
1861  the  Rev.  J.  Hart  came  to  the  neighbouring  town, 
and  some  years  later  open  air  services  were  commenced 
under  his  direction  by  the  newly  appointed  evange- 
list, Rev.  Henry  Bell.  A  desire  was  soon  expressed  for 
regular  services.  Efforts  were  then  successfully  made 
to  obtain  the  use  of  the  chapel  on  Sunday  evenings 
without  interfering  with  the  good  Strict  Baptists  who 
continued  to  use  it  earlier  in  the  day.  One  of  the 
reports  of  the  Surrey  Union  says  Mr.  Bell  gathered  a 
congregation  of  some  300  people,  and  preached  with 
one  half  of  his  congregation  inside  the  building  and  the 
other  half  without.  After  a  time  the  building  was 
handed  over  to  the  Guildford  Church,  and,  as  it  was 
found  that  the  Congregationalists  had  a  legal  right  to 
it,  new  trustees  were  soon  appointed.  Mr.  Bell  laboured 
very  successfully  in  the  district  for  five  years,  and  was 
succeeded  by  Messrs.  Kay,  E.  Sandy,  E.  J.  Hammond, 
J.  Stay,  and  the  Rev.  C.  Wright.  In  1889  the  old  build- 
ing, which  adjoined  a  farmyard,  was  found  to  be  in  a 
very  dilapidated  state.  Mr.  M.  Baker  offered  to  exchange 
the  building  for  a  more  suitable  site,  and  upon  this  it 
was  decided  to  erect  new  premises.  In  September, 
1900,  a  convenient  new  chapel  costing  over  £700  was 
opened  free  of  debt.  Mr.  May  Colebrook  of  Guildford 
was  for  many  years  associated  with  the  work  here  ;  and 
the  hearty  service  rendered  by  the  family  of  Mr.  Isaac 
Wakefield  should  not  be  forgotten. 





The  work  of  this  station  was  commenced  in  1859  by 
Mr.  William  Colebrook  at  the  Old  Manor  House  (a 
place  of  historical  interest  in  the  days  of  King  John). 
Here  a  service  was  held  on  Sunday  evenings  in  the 
kitchen,  to  which  the  workpeople  on  the  farm  and 
others  were  invited.  The  plain  presentation  of  Gospel 
truth  so  attracted  the  people  that  before  long  the 
kitchen  became  too  small. 

Mr.  Colebrook  then  decided  to  appropriate  one  bay 
of  a  large  barn  to  the  Lord's  work,  and  for  twenty 
years  "  The  Old  Barn  "  was  the  meeting  place  of  God's 
people.  In  its  early  days  the  floor  was  earthen,  the 
seats  rough,  a  table  was  used  as  a  pulpit,  the  decaying 
boards  on  all  sides  served  too  well  for  purposes  of 
ventilation,  and  the  familiar  sounds  of  the  farmyard 
adjoining  often  caused  diversion  during  the  services. 
After  some  years,  at  considerable  cost  the  barn  was 
made  much  more  comfortable.  A  Sunday  school  was 
commenced,  sustained  by  Mr.  Colebrook  and  members 
of  his  own  family,  notably  his  son-in-law,  Mr.  W.  R. 
Carling,  who  was  the  esteemed  superintendent  for 
many  years.  Many  persons  of  eminence  have  conducted 
services  in  the  old  barn.  Amongst  others,  Rev.  Dr. 
Moffatt,  Rev.  Dr.  Newman  Hall,  Rev.  George  Murphy, 
Dr.  George  Macdonald,  and  Miss  Sarah  Robinson, 
"  the  soldiers'  friend."  In  1867  W.  Seth  Smith,  Esq., 
with  his  family,  settled  in  the  neighbourhood,  and  was 
induced  one  Sunday  by  the  novelty  of  circumstances  to 
visit  the  service  in  the  barn.     Mr.  Colebrook's  earnest 


efforts  so  impressed  him  that  he  resolved  to  give  all  the 
aid  in  his  power.  For  twelve  years  Mr.  Smith  and  his 
family  rendered  valuable  help  to  the  cause:  in  1880  he 
made  a  generous  offer  of  a  piece  of  freehold  land,  and 
£500  for  the  erection  of  a  new  and  permanent  building. 
His  son,  Mr.  H.  Seth  Smith,  gave  his  services  as 
architect,  and  Mr.  George  Unwin,  who  had  recently 
come  into  the  neighbourhood,  also  promised  valuable 
assistance,  with  the  result  that  on  September  22,  1880, 
the  new  church  and  buildings,  costing  £2,500,  were 
opened  free  of  debt.  Here  for  a  quarter  of  a  century 
the  work  has  been  continued.  Valuable  help  has  been 
rendered  by  Messrs.  T.  Davies,  W.  and  H.  Wheeler, 
and  other  local  friends,  in  addition  to  Mr.  W.  R.  Carling, 
who  continues  as  superintendent  of  the  station.  The 
first  evangelist  for  the  district,  Rev.  H.  Bell,  was 
appointed  in  1869 ;  he  proved  a  most  suitable  man  for 
pioneer  work,  and  his  efforts  were  greatly  blessed.  In 
1875  Mr.  Bell  removed  to  Houghton,  Huntingdonshire, 
where  he  exercised  a  useful  ministry  for  twenty-eight 
years.  He  died  in  1903,  aged  seventy-six.  Mr.  A. 
Walker  had  charge  of  this  station  until  his  removal  to 
Hersham  in  1907. 


Ryde's  Hill  is  two  miles  from  Guildford  in  Worples- 
don  parish.  In  1862  J.  J.  Myers,  Esq.,  of  Ryde's  Hill 
House,  was  led  by  God  to  take  an  interest  in  the  spiritual 
welfare  of  his  poorer  neighbours,  and  fitted  up  a  com- 
fortable room  attached  to  his  own  residence,  where  he 


talked  and  read  to  the  villagers.  The  people  of  the 
commons  flocked  to  the  room,  and  Mr.  Myers  obtained 
the  assistance  of  the  Rev.  J.  Hart,  who  had  recently 
come  to  Guildford.  For  some  years  a  fruitful  work  was 
carried  on  here  in  addition  to  the  Sunday  services, 
and  week  evening  lectures  en  popular  subjects  were 
given.  After  a  time  Mr.  Myers  left  the  neighbourhood, 
and  the  work  was  continued  by  W.  S.  P.  Henderson, 
Esq.,  who  had  recently  come  to  reside  close  by.  This 
gentleman  erected  a  wooden  chapel  at  a  cost  of  about 
£160,  largely  at  his  own  expense.  An  afternoon  Sunday 
school  was  formed,  to  which  some  eighty  children 
gathered,  and  the  work  was  continued  at  this  place  for 
over  twenty  years.  In  1876  Mr.  Henderson  died,  but 
Mrs.  Henderson  remained  until  1886,  and  continued  to 
show  a  warm  interest  in  the  cause.  Upon  her  removal 
from  the  neighbourhood  an  anxious  time  was  expe- 
rienced, and  progress  was  hindered  by  the  want  of  a 
permanent  meeting  place.  At  length,  mainly  by  the 
generosity  of  Mrs.  Henderson  (in  memory  of  her  hus- 
band's work),  a  convenient  mission  chapel  was  built 
and  opened  on  October  25,  1893.  Mr.  F.  R.  Carling 
and  Mr.  W.  Chennell  were  for  many  years  in  charge  of 
this  station,  and  it  is  now  being  efficiently  supplied  by 
Mr.  Maurice  H.  Lacy. 


Meetings  in  connection  with  the  Guildford  church 
were  held  in  the  old  Woking  village  as  far  back  as  1865. 
Mr.    Edward  Hilder,  of  Hoe  Bridge,  threw  open  his 


Market  House  for  occasional  gatherings.  In  1870  a 
mission  was  held  in  the  assembly  room  of  the  White 
Horse,  the  only  available  place.  In  the  summer  months 
open  air  services  were  held  at  Cart  Bridge,  and  these 
proved  very  successful.  A  piece  of  land  was  given  by 
Mr.  Frank  Apted  of  Guildford,  and  an  excellent  chapel, 
with  stabling,  costing  £800,  was  opened  in  1875,  very 
nearly  free  of  debt.  Numerous  additions  and  improve- 
ments have  been  made  to  the  original  building.  There 
has  been  a  flourishing  Sunday  school  here  conducted 
for  many  years  by  Mr.  T.  Burt  and  others. 

The  following  have  done  good  service  as  evangelists : 
— Messrs.  E.  J.  Hammond,  W.  Robins,  J.  Stay,  and 
lately  by  H.  C.  Waller,  who  has  at  present  charge  of 
the  station. 


An  afternoon  cottage  service  was  commenced  here  by 
Mr.  W.  Seth  Smith  in  1871,  and  continued  for  about 
twenty-six  years.  In  1897  the  Young  Men's  Christian 
Association  connected  with  the  Guildford  church 
offered  to  be  responsible  for  the  services  under  the 
leadership  of  Mr.  T.  J.  Lacey.  Increased  interest  was 
at  once  roused,  and  the  accommodation  of  the  cottage 
(owned  by  Mr.  Chetty)  soon  became  too  small  for  the 
numbers  who  flocked  to  the  room.  By  the  effort  of  Mr. 
T.  Davies  a  site  was  secured  for  a  new  chapel,  and 
ultimately  it  was  opened  free  of  debt  in  December,  1901. 
Mr.  T.  J.  Lacey  continues  to  occupy  the  position  of 
superintendent  of  the  station,  and  the  success  of  the 
work  here  has  been  mainly  due  to  his  energy  and  self- 
denying  labours. 

Old  Barn  at  Tangley. 
Formerly  used  as  a  Meeting  House. 



For  nearly  thirty  years  services  have  been  held  in  a 
rustic  mission  room,  formerly  an  old  carpenter's  shop, 
in  the  main  street.  There  has  been  unmistakable 
evidence  of  good  spiritual  results  from  these  endeavours. 
The  late  Alderman  W.  Baker,  for  many  years  was  the 
esteemed  superintendent  of  the  station,  and  Mr.  D.  Stark 
has  from  the  first  taken  the  lead  in  all  the  local  arrange- 
ments. The  evangelist  connected  with  the  Tangley 
district  visits  in  this  neighbourhood. 



Merrow  is  a  pretty  village,  one  and  a  half  miles  from 
Guildford.  In  1875  the  Guildford  church  held  open- 
air  services  on  Merrow  Common.  Great  interest  was 
aroused,  and  at  the  importunate  desire  of  a  number  of 
friends  resident  in  the  district  an  effort  was  made  to 
obtain  a  permanent  meeting  place.  Owing  to  local 
prejudice  considerable  difficulty  was  experienced,  but 
eventually  a  farmer  offered  his  barn.  £20  contributed 
by  J.  T.  Pagan,  Esq.,  J. P.,  was  spent  in  making  it 
suitable  for  services  in  the  winter.  In  1881  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Broad,  who  lived  in  the  parish,  erected  at  their 
own  cost  (about  £250)  a  new  iron  room  with  every 
convenience  for  social  gatherings,  and  offered  it  for  the 
use  of  the  church.  The  chapel  was  opened  by  a  harvest 


thanksgiving  service  on  Friday,  October  28,  1881.  The 
position,  however,  was  not  good,  as  it  was  situated  in  a 
dark  lane,  so  it  was  removed  to  another  and  better  site 
in  High  Path  Road,  where  it  has  been  a  centre  of 
religious  influence  for  many  years.  Mr.  T.  Harms  has 
been  the  respected  superintendent  of  a  flourishing 
Sunday  school,  and  Mr.  Alexander  has  also  been  a 
valued  helper  in  the  work.  Mr.  Waller  is  now  the 
resident  evangelist. 



The  mission  room  was  built  about  twenty  years  ago 
by  Mr.  Aaron  Wells ;  the  work  was  for  some  time 
carried  on  by  the  Baptist  friends.  In  1892  it  was  taken 
over  by  the  Guildford  church.  The  building  is  much 
too  small  for  the  Sunday  school,  and  at  the  present 
time  friends  at  Guildford  have  under  consideration  a 
scheme  for  its  enlargement.  Mr.  John  Brown  is  the 
esteemed  Sunday  school  superintendent. 



Godalming  is  a  little  town  of  some  eight  thousand 
inhabitants,  situated  on  the  river  Wey  in  one  of  the 
most   charming   valleys   of  Surrey.     Some  derive  the 




name  from  Goda's  or  Godiva's  alms  or  charity,  but 
the  more  generally  accepted  derivation  is  the  "  ing  " 
or  meadow  of  "  Godelm,"  a  Saxon  proprietor.  It  is 
a  town  of  great  antiquity.  The  Manor  of  Godalming 
is  mentioned  in  the  will  of  Alfred  the  Great,  by  whom 
it  was  bequeathed  to  his  nephew  Ethelhelm.  From 
the  twelfth  to  the  sixteenth  centuries  it  belonged  to  the 
Deans  of  Salisbury.  Its  history  has  been  quiet  and 
uneventful ;  no  great  public  event  is  connected  with 
it,  and  the  most  important  name  associated  with  it 
is  Rev.  Owen  Manning,  the  historian  of  Surrey. 

Although  the  present  Congregational  Church  only 
dates  from  the  eighteenth  century,  yet  Godalming  was 
not  without  earlier  witnesses  to  the  faith.  Two  con- 
venticles are  reported  in  Sheldon's  list  in  1669.  One 
was  in  the  house  of  John  Piatt  (or  Plot,  a  Noncon- 
formist minister  ejected  from  West  Horsley),  where 
seven  or  eight  hundred  people  were  said  to  be  present 
every  Sunday.  Another  for  Quakers  was  held  in  the 
house  of  Henry  Gill,  where  the  attendance  was 
reported  as  between  four  and  five  hundred. 

In  1672  a  licence  was  granted  for  the  house  of  George 
Bridge,  Presbyterian.  At  least  two  of  the  ejected 
ministers  settled  at  Godalming.  John  Farrol,  formerly 
of  Selborne,  Hants,  was  arrested  here  for  being  found 
within  five  miles  of  a  corporation,  and  for  preaching 
in  the  town.  He  was  imprisoned  for  six  months,  but 
said  that  the  kindness  of  friends  made  it  one  of  the 
most  comfortable  parts  of  his  life.  His  enemies  said 
they  would  not  send  him  to  prison  again  because  he 
lived  so  much  better  there  than  at  home. 

His  custom  was  to  go  to  the  Parish  Church  before  or 
after  preaching  in  private.  After  the  Indulgence  in  1672 
he  bestowed  his  labours  between  Farnhamand  Guildford. 

D  D 


Another  ejected  minister  was  Richard  Dowley,  B.D. 
He  was  a  friend  of  Richard  Baxter,  and  had  been 
for  several  years  minister  of  Stoke,  near  Bromsgrove. 
Both  his  father  and  uncle  conformed,  but  he  could 
not.  Upon  the  Indulgence  he  took  out  a  licence  for 
a  meeting  in  his  own  house.  In  1680  he  went  to 
London  and  opened  a  school.  For  merely  attending 
a  meeting  he  was  brought  before  the  Lord  Mayor, 
fined  £10,  bound  over  for  twelve  months  and  com- 
pelled to  give  up  his  school.  Later  he  removed  to 
Godalming,  where  he  preached  till  the  infirmity  of  age 
sent  him  back  to  London  to  live  with  his  children. 
There  he  died  in  1702  at  the  age  of  eighty. 

In  1715  Mr.  Roger  Foster  of  Guildford  had  a  lecture 
here.  Waddington  also  mentions  a  Mr.  Crewkett  as 
coming  in  1729,  who  stayed  fourteen  or  fifteen  years, 
and  John  Harrison,  who  settled  in  1753  and  remained 
eight  years.  Nothing  further  is  known  of  these 

In  1729  a  site  for  the  old  meeting  house  was  bought 
of  Ann  Moorey  for  £20,  and  put  in  trust.  The  con- 
veyance and  trust  are  dated  January  13  and  14  of  that 
year.  The  building  immediately  followed.  In  1761 
Rev.  Nehemiah  Ring  succeeded  Mr.  Harrison.  Mr. 
Ring  appears  to  have  looked  after  Guildford  as  well 
as  Godalming.  "  When  he  felt  pretty  well  on  the 
Sabbath  day  and  the  weather  was  fine,"  he  would  send 
over  his  clerk  to  announce  to  some  of  the  principal 
families  that  he  intended  to  preach  that  morning. 

Mr.  Ring  died  September  1,  1799.  At  his  death 
the  care  of  Godalming  was  undertaken  by  the  Surrey 
Mission,  and  subsequently  by  students  of  Homerton 
College.  One  of  these,  Mr.  John  Nelson  Goulty, 
although  not  ordained  as   pastor,   took  charge  of  the 


church  for  two  or  three  years,  preaching  sometimes  also 
at  Elstead  and  Hascomb. 

Mr.  Goulty  was  a  native  of  East  Dereham,  where 
he  was  born  June  21,  1788.  He  was  a  kinsman  of 
Admiral  Nelson,  and  at  one  time  was  in  the  line 
of  succession  to  the  peerage.  During  his  stay  at 
Godalming  the  cause  considerably  revived.  He  re- 
moved to  Henley-on-Thames  in  1815,  and  to  Brighton 
in  1824,  where  he  laboured  for  thirty-seven  years.  He 
died  there  January  18,  1870,  in  his  eighty-third  year. 

Godalming  was  without  a  pastor  till  1819,  when 
John  Isaac,  a  student  at  Dr.  Bogue's  academy  at 
Gosport,  accepted  the  charge.  In  1821  the  chapel 
was  enlarged.  But  Mr.  Isaac's  health  failed,  and  he 
resigned,  much  to  the  regret  of  his  people.  He  died  at 
Godalming  in  1840. 

Again  the  Surrey  Mission  took  charge  of  the  work 
till  1830,  when  Mr.  W.  Clarke,  of  Hackney  College,  was 
ordained.  During  his  pastorate  the  chapel  was  rebuilt 
at  a  cost  of  £634.  On  October  1,  1834,  thirteen 
members  residing  in  that  village  were  dismissed  to  form 
a  branch  church  at  Elstead. 

After  seven  years'  successful  work  Mr.  Clark  resigned, 
March  20,  1837,  to  labour  in  Canada.  He  died  at 
Dresden,  Ontario,  in  1878,  in  the  seventy-seventh  year 
of  his  age. 

He  was  followed  the  same  year  by  Rev.  Moses 
Caston,  who  held  the  pastorate  for  two  years  and 
resigned  in  September,  1839.  Rev.  Thomas  Porter 
of  Kilsby  was  the  next  minister.  He  was  born  at 
Great  Yarmouth,  December  9,  1794.  When  quite 
young  he  was  a  Wesleyan  local  preacher,  afterwards 
entering  Hackney  College.  He  settled  first  at  Kilsby, 
in  Northamptonshire,  in  1826.     He  held  the  pastorate 

d  d  2 


at  Godalming  for  eight  years,  1840  to  1848,  when 
he  accepted  an  invitation  to  Bristol.  He  died  on 
November  27,  1852. 

On  Tuesday,  December  12,  1848,  the  Rev.  Thomas 
Alfred  Hall  was  ordained.  He  was  educated  for  the 
legal  profession,  but  soon  after  his  conversion  abandoned 
it  for  the  Christian  ministry,  and  entered  Hackney 
College  in  1843.  On  leaving  college  he  supplied  at 
East  Sheen,  and  a  year  later  accepted  an  invitation  to 
Godalming.  He  resigned  in  1852  and  died  the  same 

Rev.  W.  H.  Jackson,  from  Settle,  Yorks,  was  the  next 
pastor.  His  ministry  lasted  from  1852  to  1858,  when 
he  removed  to  Bracknell,  Berks. 

This  pastorate  is  said  to  have  been  a  time  of  "  trial 
and  discouragement  to  the  church."  During  the  next 
three  years  the  pulpit  was  supplied  by  students.  In 
August,  1861,  Rev.  Thomas  Davies,  B.A.,  a  student 
of  Cheshunt,  settled  here.  The  next  year  the  chapel 
was  renovated  at  a  cost  of  £260. 

The  old  building  in  Hart's  Lane  had  long  been  found 
inconvenient,  and  it  was  now  felt  that  time  had  come 
to  secure  a  more  suitable  edifice.  The  congregation 
was  unable  to  undertake  the  work  till  Mr.  T.  Simpson, 
of  Uplands,  threw  himself  into  the  movement.  The 
old  chapel  was  sold  to  the  Methodists  for  £"450,  and 
a  site  was  secured  in  Bridge  Street  for  £633.  On 
May  27,  1868,  the  memorial  stones  of  the  new  church 
were  laid  by  T.  Barnes,  Esq.  The  church  was  opened 
on  Wednesday,  October  28.  It  will  seat  450  persons, 
and  the  total  cost,  including  the  organ,  was  about 

°  Mr.   Davies  held  the  pastorate  till  1872,  when  his 
health  failed,  and  he  removed  to  Brighton.     He  was 

T.   Rea,   Esq.,  J. P.,  C.A., 

For  50  years  a  member  of  the  Congregational  Church  at 



succeeded  by  W.  J.  Marshall,  late  of  Eltham,  who  held 
the  pastorate  till  1880. 

Additional  land  was  bought  in  1879,  and  a  school- 
house  was  built  at  a  cost,  including  site  and  furnishing, 
of  £2,500.  This  was  opened  March  27,  1884.  Godal- 
ming  has  a  schoolroom  of  which  any  church  might  be 
proud.  The  central  hall  is  surrounded  by  two  tiers  of 
class-rooms,  all  open  to  the  hall,  and  all  capable  of 
being  shut  off  by  curtains  for  private  teaching.  Later 
the  house  adjoining  the  church  was  bought  for  a 
minister's  residence. 

In  1880  an  invitation  was  given  to  Rev.  A.J.  Crighton, 
of  Cheshunt  College,  who  remained  until  1892,  and 
in  1893  Rev.  F.  R.  Goodfellow  accepted  the  pastorate. 
Mr.  Goodfellow  had  previously  held  a  charge  for  three 
years  at  Matlock  Bank. 

He  remained  at  Godalming  until  1900,  when  he 
removed  to  Hastings,  where  he  now  lives.  In  1901 
Rev.  Hugh  McKay  was  invited  to  take  the  oversight 
of  the  church.  He  was  a  student  of  New  College.  He 
graduated  B.A.  at  the  London  University,  and  in  1889 
was  ordained  as  pastor  of  Headgate  Church,  Colchester, 
where  he  laboured  for  twelve  years. 




Elstead  is  a  pretty  village  on  the  Wey,  rather  more 
than  five  miles  west  of  Godalming.     The  work  dates 


from  1821,  when  Rev.  J.  Johnston  of  Farnham  preached 
in  the  open  air  at  Tilford.     As  winter  approached  he 
succeeded   in  building    a    chapel    on    land    given    by 
Rev.  Thos.  Taylor,   who    also  gave  £100  toward  the 
building,  the  total  cost  being  £240.     The  first  evan- 
gelist was  Mr.  Corney,  a  student  from  Hackney  College. 
He  came  to  Elstead  in    1823,  but  only  stayed  a  year. 
He  was  followed  by  Mr.   Smith,  who  resigned  through 
ill  health  in   1829.     The  station  was  then  supplied  by 
students  till   1834,    when    a    church    was    formed    on 
October  14,  under  the  pastoral  care  of  Rev.  S.  Hillyard, 
of  Newport   Pagnell  College.     He    left    in    February, 
1840,  to  become  pastor   of   the    church    at   Runcorn, 
Cheshire.     Waddington  says  that  his  successor  "  sought 
refuge  in  the   Anglican  Establishment  under  circum- 
stances   that    threatened    the    extinction  of  the  little 
Congregational  church."     This,   however,  was  averted 
by  the  timely  and  generous  interposition  of  the  Messrs. 
Appleton  who  came  into  the  neighbourhood. 

Rev.    J.    Moss    was    appointed    in   July,    1840,   and 

ordained  at   Kingston,   September  30,    but  successive 

bereavements  of  wife  and  sister  led  to  his  retirement  on 

December  21,   1841.      Rev.    J.   P.  Gamage  now  took 

charge  of  the  church  for  two  months.     Rev.  Edward 

Broomfield    then    entered    upon    the    work.     He  was 

ordained  at  Dorking  in  October,  1843.     His  first  effort 

was  to  secure  a  suitable  place  of  worship.     He  bought 

the  estate  on  which  the  church  stands  from  Mrs.  Sarah 

Legg  on  September  9,  1845,  the  money  being  raised  by 

mortgages.     Subsequently  a  part  of  the  land  appears 

to  have  been    disposed    of,    and    the   present    church 

erected.     A  schoolroom  was  also  built  where  a  British 

school  was  carried  on.     Mr.  Broomfield  laboured  till 

August,   1859,  when  he  died  after  a  few  days'  illness. 


Rev.  A.  Heal,  from  Hartland,  Devon,  was  the  next 
minister.  He  laboured  amidst  some  discouragement 
from  i860  till  April,  1866,  and  the  following  month 
was  succeeded  by  Mr.  Leete,  who  removed  hither  from 

The  difficulties  of  the  little  church  appear  to  have 
increased,  and  they  were  made  all  the  more  severe  by 
the  removal  of  a  local  industry.  It  soon  became  impos- 
sible to  maintain  a  pastor  any  longer.  For  some  time 
the  cause  was  under  the  oversight  of  the  Farnham 
church;  but  about  1890  the  church  at  Godalming 
took  the  responsibility,  and  has  worked  it  with  its 
other  stations. 



Wormley  Hill  is  a  hamlet  near  Witley,  about  four 
and  a  half  miles  south  of  Godalming.  Rev.  William 
Clarke,  during  his  ministry  at  Godalming,  acquired  a 
site  on  a  ninety-nine  years'  lease  from  the  late 
Mr.  George  Marshall  at  a  nominal  rent  of  five  shillings 
a  year. 

The  original  chapel  was  built  in  1836.  It  was 
opened  on  September  4  by  Rev.  George  Clayton,  of 

In  June,  1863,  Mr.  Leete  was  placed  here  as  an 
evangelist,  and  the  following  year  the  freehold  of  the 
site  was  purchased  for  the  sum  of  £10. 

Mr.  Leete  removed  in  May,  1866,  to  Elstead,  and  was 
followed  by  Mr.  Eade,  who  after  two  years  was  laid  aside 
by  severe  illness. 


In  1868  a  new  chapel  was  built  at  a  cost  of  £250, 
the  old  building  having  become  inadequate  to  the  needs 
of  the  congregation. 

Mr.  Eade  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  who  after  a 
short  ministry  died  in  1869. 

In  1870  the  Godalming  church  appointed  Mr. 
Sheward  to  the  station.  He  was  followed  by  several 
other  evangelists  in  succession.  It  is  now,  with  the 
other  Godalming  stations,  under  the  pastoral  care  of  Mr. 
H.  E.  Sumner,  who  has  laboured  since  1905  with  great 
promise  of  usefulness. 



The  work  here  owes  its  inception  to  Mr.  Pewtress  of 
Eashing,  and  Mr.  Appleton  of  Elstead.  Some  of  the 
villagers  had  been  alienated  from  the  Established 
Church  by  ritualistic  practices.  Evening  services  were 
first  commenced  in  1858,  and  for  a  time  were  supplied  by 
students,  and  by  Mr.  Eade,  a  lay  preacher  who  divided 
his  labours  between  Eashing  and  Wormley.  A  Sabbath 
school  was  also  formed  with  forty  children  and  five 
teachers.  A  note  in  the  Surrey  Mission  Report  of  1864 
says,  "  The  chapel  is  too  strait  for  the  numbers  who 
attend,  and  frequently  service  is  held  in  a  large  room 
belonging  to  Mr.  Pewtress."  A  church  was  formed  in 
1864  with  eleven  members. 

In  1866  Mr.  G.  Eade,  son  of  the  preceding  helper, 
was  appointed  by  the  committee  to  the  oversight  of 
Eashing  in  connection  with  the  other  Godalming 
stations.     The  work  seems  to  have  been  at  times  very 


discouraging,  especially  as  regards  the  Sunday  school. 
Both  bribes  and  threats  were  freely  used  to  prevent  the 
people  from  attending. 

In  1869  Mr.  Eade  died,  and  the  village  chapels  were 
again  supplied  by  students.  In  1870  the  Eashing  and 
Milford  churches  were  united. 

The  station  has  continued  under  the  oversight  of  the 
Godalming  Church,  the  evangelists  being  Mr.  Sheward 
(1870),  Mr.  Shalberg,  Mr.  W.  Falconer  (1877— 1883),  Mr. 
T.  Poole,  Mr.  Hedgelong,  Mr.  Mapstone,  and  Rev.  G. 
S.  Martin.  The  present  evangelist,  Mr.  H.  E.  Sumner, 
was  appointed  in  1905. 



The  interest  in  this  village  originated  with  a  Mr. 
Bailey,  who  for  some  months  during  the  year  1856  held 
services  in  a  cottage.  A  little  chapel  was  built  in  i860. 
The  site  was  at  the  junction  of  a  lane  with  the  Ports- 
mouth Road,  and  was  formerly  occupied  by  a  cattle 
shed.  Mr.  Bowdler,  a  builder,  erected  the  chapel  at 
his  own  cost,  using  the  materials  of  the  shed  in  its 
construction.  Here  about  sixty  worshippers  could  be 

In  1872  the  need  was  felt  for  a  larger  building. 
The  Godalming  church  secured  a  site  in  Lady  Cross 
Road,  and  Mr.  Pewtress,  its  indefatigable  secretary, 
obtained  an  iron  chapel  from  Alton.  The  cost  of  the 
site  was  £gj,  and  the  total  cost  £742.  Accommoda- 
tion was  provided  for  150  persons,  and  the  school- 
room held  sixty  scholars. 


The  Godalming  church  now  took  the  oversight  of 
the  work,  and  later  an  evangelist  was  appointed  to 
work  Milford  with  the  other  village  stations,  assisted 
by  a  Lay  Preachers'  Association. 

Subsequently,  Milford  having  become  a  residential 
district,  a  handsome  chapel  of  Bargate  stone  was 
erected  on  the  ground  in  front  of  the  iron  building. 
It  was  opened  in  July,  1902,  by  Dr.  R.  F.  Horton, 
M.A.  It  will  seat  200  persons,  and  is  capable  of 
enlargement.     The  entire  cost  has  been  £1,200. 


About  1865  evangelistic  work  was  commenced  in  this 
hamlet,  in  a  chapel  owned  by  a  Mr.  Isaac  Kettle. 
In  1880  arrangements  were  made  whereby  it  was 
promised  that  the  chapel  should  be  put  in  trust  for 
Godalming  Church;  but  on  Mr.  Kettle's  death  in 
1906  it  was  found  that  he  had  bequeathed  it  to  a 
relation.     The  station  was  discontinued. 



Beautifully  situated  between  the  hills  of  Hindhead 
and  Blackdown,  in  the  extreme  south-western  corner 
of  Surrey,  lies  the  little  town  of  Haslemere. 

In  olden  days  it  was  a  place  of  no  small  importance. 
It  is  spoken  of  in  Elizabeth's  time  as  "  very  ancient  and 
populous."  From  1585  till  the  passing  of  the  Reform 
Bill  of  1832  it  returned  two  members  to  Parliament. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  last  century  the  manufacture 


of  crape  was  extensively  carried  on,  which  considerably 
increased  the  prosperity  of  the  town.  Now  Haslemere 
is  fast  coming  into  notice  as  a  desirable  residence  for 
those  who  can  afford  to  live  so  far  out  of  town,  whilst 
as  a  health  resort  it  is  also  gaining  some  repute. 

The  church  here  owes  its  origin  to  a  young  man 
named  Christopher  Lee,  who  lived  at  Shottermill,  an 
adjoining  village.  He  had  been  greatly  impressed 
whilst  on  a  visit  to  Midhurst,  and  on  his  return  began  to 
work  for  Christ  in  his  own  neighbourhood.  At  first  he 
experienced  considerable  opposition  from  his  parents, 
but  ultimately  they  were  convinced,  and  opened  their 
house  for  services  and  a  Sunday  school. 

In  1792  regular  preaching  was  commenced  by  Rev. 
Richard  Densham,  an  agent  of  the  Village  Itinerancy, 
originated  by  Revs.  John  Eyre  and  Matt.  Wilks.  The 
Evangelical  Magazine  reports  that  some  good  was  done 
to  adults,  and  about  130  children  instructed.  In  1803 
Mr.  Densham  was  killed  by  a  gig  accident  while  driving 
from  Petersfield  to  arrange  for  the  building  of  a  chapel 
at  Haslemere.  In  1804  this  first  chapel,  which  is  now 
used  as  a  lecture  hall  and  schoolroom,  was  built  by  the 
Village  Itinerancy.  It  was  opened  on  November  15  of 
that  year. 

The  church  fellowship  was  formed  at  an  earlier  but 
uncertain  date.  According  to  tradition  it  was  formed 
at  Shepherd's  Hill.  The  first  settled  pastor  was  Rev. 
George  Waller.  He  was  ordained  in  1807,  and  left  the 
same  year.  The  following  year  the  church  sustained 
the  loss  by  death  of  one  of  its  first  deacons,  Joseph 
Hearne,  to  whose  memory  a  tablet  is  erected  in  the 
present  building. 

In  1809  Rev.  Thomas  Mountford,  of  Hackney, 
accepted  the  pastorate,  and  remained  for   two   years. 


The  pulpit  was  then  supplied  from  Hackney  College 
till  1815.  In  that  year  Rev.  D.  Evans  preached  for 
nine  Sundays,  and  was  twice  invited  to  take  charge  of  the 
work.  He  eventually  accepted  and  settled  in  February, 
1816 ;  but  he  accepted  for  one  year  only,  as  he  feared 
"the  spirit  of  Antinomianism  prevailing  amongst  the 

After  Mr.  Evans's  settlement  the  church  was  re- 
organised, and  rules  were  framed  for  the  guidance  of 
the  members.  Some  of  these  are  exceedingly  interest- 
ing. The  qualification  for  membership  was  moral 
character  and  seeking  "  an  experimental  acquaintance- 
ship with  Christ."  Members  absent  from  three  successive 
church  meetings,  without  giving  sufficient  explanation, 
are  liable  to  be  reproved  in  meeting.  Conversation  in 
church  meetings  is  to  be  entirely  of  a  spiritual  character, 
and  the  business  is  not  to  be  divulged,  "  no,  not  to  the 
dearest  friend,"  under  penalty  of  forfeiture  of  member- 
ship. Inconsistent  or  irregular  conduct  is  punished  by 
suspension,  or,  if  circumstances  require,  expulsion. 
"Prattling"  about  each  other's  faults  is  "deemed 
back-biting  "  and  "  disorderly  walking,"  and  is  treated 
accordingly.  I  n  the  case  of  the  affliction  of  a  member  the 
name  is  to  be  made  known  to  the  other  members,  "  that 
they  may  do  their  duty  accordingly."  These  rules 
must  have  proved  too  much  for  some  of  the  members, 
for  in  1818  we  read  that  a  "  complete  sentimental 
division  "  took  place,  through  the  action  of  some  mem- 
bers, who  disliked  the  recognition  of  the  moral  law  as 
a  rule  of  life. 

Again  in  1826  there  was  a  secession,  when,  owing 
to  a  dispute  concerning  the  Sunday  school  and  matters 
of  finance,  several  members  went  over  to  the  Established 


Although  Mr.  Evans  only  accepted  for  one  year,  he 
remained  until  1830.  He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  J. 
Estcourt,  who  left  Haslemere  on  December  25,  1834. 
The  oversight  of  the  church  was  then  taken  by 
Rev.  J.  Greenwood,  of  Petersfield,  who  supplied  the 

In  1838  Rev.  C.  J.  Morgan  was  invited  to  the  vacant 
pastorate.  Mr.  Morgan  was  born  in  Bristol  in  1808 
and  was  converted  under  the  ministry  of  Dr.  Leifchild. 
He  began  to  preach  in  connection  with  the  Itinerant 
Society  of  that  city.  He  accepted  the  pastorate  for 
twelve  months,  was  ordained  on  October  1,  1839,  and 
remained  till  1844,  when  he  resigned.  The  following 
year  he  was  invited  to  resume  his  ministry,  where- 
upon several  members  holding  hyper-Calvinistic  views 
seceded,  and  formed  a  fellowship  which  is  now  repre- 
sented by  strict  Baptists  in  Lower  Street. 

In  1846  the  church  was  again  reorganised.  On  this 
occasion  a  letter  was  sent  to  former  members,  stating 
"that  persons  joining  the  church  should  be  told  that 
the  moral  law  is  a  rule  of  life,  and  that  sinners  are  to  be 
warned  to  repent  of  their  sins,  and  believe  in  the  Lord 
Jesus  Christ." 

Mr.  Morgan  retired  in  1872,  after  a  pastorate  of 
thirty-two  years.  He  is  spoken  of  as  a  man  of  thorough 
conscientiousness  and  moral  fearlessness,  of  large  heart 
and  generous  nature.  He  still  remained  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, and  assisted  the  church  as  chairman  of  a 
newly-formed  committee  of  management.  The  other 
members  were   Messrs.  Teasdale,  Treagus,  Suttil,  and 

C.  Pannell. 

Rev.  John  Thompson,  of  Great  Ayton,  Yorkshire,  was 
the  next  minister.     His  ministry  lasted  from  1874  to 


The  Rev.  J.  Garnet  Ramsden,  a  student  of  Hackney, 
and  son  of  a  Methodist  minister  at  Nottingham,  then 
accepted  the  charge.  He  was  ordained  on  April  12, 
1881.  The  following  year  memorial  stones  of  a  new 
church  were  laid  by  Mr.  \V.  Marten  Smith.  Soon  after 
the  building  was  opened  with  great  rejoicing  and  prac- 
tically free  from  debt,  two  friends  having  agreed  to 
guarantee  any  deficiency.  Rev.  J.  Baldwin  Brown 
preached  from  "  The  love  of  Christ  constraineth  us." 

Unhappily  the  bright  prospects  of  the  church  were 
soon  clouded  by  the  fatal  illness  of  the  minister.  After 
two  years  Mr.  Ramsden  died,  at  the  early  age  of 
twenty-eight.  His  term  of  office,  though  short,  was 
full  of  service.  One  useful  work  he  did  was  to 
organise  preaching  services  at  Blackdown,  where  there 
is  now  a  flourishing  little  church. 

In  1883  Rev.  G.  B.  Stallworthy,  of  New  College,  came 
from  Wells  (Norfolk),  and  held  the  pastorate  for  nine 
years.  In  1889  the  senior  deacon  of  the  church,  Mr. 
B.  P.  Pratten,  died  after  many  years'  service. 

Mr.  Stallworthy  removed  to  Longfleet,  Poole,  in 
1892.  He  has  since  returned  to  the  neighbourhood, 
and  at  present  ministers  to  the  church  at  Hindhead. 

In  1893  Rev.  Palmer  Grenville,  B.A.,  LL.B.,  accepted 
the  pastorate  for  two  years,  which  terminated  on  August 
20,  1895.  After  a  short  interval  Rev.  Hugh  Morris 
commenced   a    successful    ministry  on    November    17, 


During  the  last  few  years  a  great  change  has  come 

over  the  little  town  ;    from   a  rotten  borough    it   has 

developed  into  a  centre  of  light  and  learning,  where, 

owing    to    the    presence    of    many    celebrated    men, 

attracted  by  the  beauty  of  the  neighbourhood,  art  and 

science  and  philosophy  flourish.     With  the  development 


of  the  town  the  church  has  also  grown,  and  perhaps 
few  places  of  equal  size  have  a  more  hopeful  prospect. 

Unfortunately  after  nearly  nine  years'  service  the 
health  of  Mr.  Morris  gave  way,  and  as  after  a  prolonged 
rest  no  improvement  was  seen,  the  church  regretfully 
accepted  his  resignation  in  1905.  Mr.  Morris  died 
the  following  year. 

The  present  minister,  Rev.  A.  D.  Jeffery,  settled  in 
1906.  During  fifteen  years  he  had  ministered  success- 
fully at  Newcastle,  Peckham,  and  Halifax. 



Leatherhead  is  a  quiet  little  town  of  nearly  5,000 
inhabitants,  pleasantly  seated  on  the  Mole,  about  half- 
way between  Dorking  and  Epsom. 

In  1816  Mr.  John  Burrell,  the  proprietor  of  a  board- 
ing school,  in  conjunction  with  Rev.  Thos.  Lewis,  of 
Islington,  secured  a  large  barn  in  the  centre  of  the 
village,  which  had  been  frequently  used  by  strolling 
players,  and  fitted  it  up  as  a  place  of  worship.  It  was 
opened  on  September  10,  when  Mr.  Lewis  delivered 
a  discourse  on  public  worship,  and  sermons  were 
subsequently  preached  by  Dr.  Waugh  and  Rev.  G. 

It  does  not  appear  that  a  regular  church  was  formed 
until  near  the  end  of  1829,  when  Rev.  John  Harris, 
then  residing  at  Epsom,  attended  a  meeting  for  that 
purpose    in    Mr.    Burrell's    house,    and    Mr.    Burrell 


and  Mr.  J.  Hislop  were  appointed  deacons.  The 
Lord's  Supper  was  first  celebrated  in  the  chapel  on 
December  27,  1829,  Rev-  Alfred  Dawson,  of  Dorking, 

The  services  were  principally  conducted  by  students 
from  Highbury  till  1832.  In  that  year  Rev.  T.  Barker, 
from  Rowland's  Castle,  Hants,  was  called  to  the 
pastorate,  and  entered  on  the  charge  on  March  4.  Owing 
to  failure  of  help  from  London  the  church  was  unable 
to  afford  adequate  maintenance  for  his  family.  He 
therefore  resigned  on  March  29,  1835,  and  emigrated 
to  Canada.  For  the  next  six  months  Rev.  J.  Freeman 
occupied  the  pulpit,  which  was  then  supplied  by 
Highbury  students  for  nearly  four  years. 

In  1836  the  lease  of  the  chapel  expired.  Mr.  Thomas 
Wilson  bought  the  freehold  and  some  adjacent  cottages 
for  £1,000;  next  year  he  sold  part  of  the  property  for 
£650,  retaining  the  chapel  and  sufficient  ground  for  a 
more  commodious  building. 

From  May  5,  1839,  to  April  26,  1842,  the  pastorate 
was  held  by  Rev.  John  Barker,  formerly  of  Wells, 
Norfolk.  He  was  the  grandson  of  Rev.  Thomas 
Barker,  who  for  nearly  fifty  years  had  been  minister  of 
the  Old  Meeting  House  in  Deptford.  After  leaving 
Leatherhead  he  held  pastorates  at  Louth  and  Harwich, 
at  the  latter  place  training  students  for  the  London 
Missionary  Society.  He  died  in  the  seventy-first  year 
of  his  age,  on  September  23,  1883. 

During  Mr.  Barker's  ministry  the  project  of  a  new 
sanctuary  was  in  abeyance.  It  was  taken  up  vigorously 
by  his  successor,  Rev.  J.  Perkins,  who  entered  on 
the  pastorate  December  7,  1842.  The  new  chapel, 
described  as  "  a  neat  structure,  capable  of  seating  about 
250  persons,"  was  opened  on  October  23,  1844.     Three 


sermons  were  preached,  by  Revs.  J.  Hill,  of  Clapham, 
John  Burnet,  of  Camberwell,  and  E.  Davies,  of 

Mr.  Perkins  resigned  at  Michaelmas,  1846.  He  was 
succeeded,  a  year  later,  by  Rev.  John  Morris,  who  had 
ministered  twenty-five  years  at  Olney,  and  afterwards 
for  a  short  time  in  Bermondsey.  After  four  years  at 
Leatherhead  he  removed  to  Glastonbury,  where  he 
died  on  September  8,  1866,  at  the  age  of  seventy-eight. 
He  is  described  as  "of  the  Puritanical  school,  having 
little  sympathy  with  modern  freedom  of  thought." 

Rev.  E.  Waite,  M.A.,  a  Cheshunt  student,  followed 
after  a  year's  interval.  His  pastorate,  which  seems  to 
have  been  uneventful,  began  November  18,  1852,  and 
ended  in  June,  1865,  when  he  removed  to  London 
Road,  Croydon. 

The  next  pastor  was  Rev.  W.  O'Neill.  He  was 
born  at  Youghall,  co.  Cork,  on  October  6,  1809,  and 
had  already  exercised  a  strenuous  ministry,  first  for 
seven  years  as  a  town  missionary  in  Ireland,  next  for 
nineteen  years  as  a  rural  evangelist  in  Devon,  and  then 
for  eight  years  as  the  last  pastor  of  the  extinct  church 
in  New  Broad  Street,  City.  He  settled  at  Leatherhead 
in  1866,  and  retained  the  pastorate  till  his  death  on 
June  8,  1871.  He  is  described  as  "a  man  of  devoted 
piety  and  marvellous  industry."  But  his  work  in 
Leatherhead,  though  by  no  means  unfruitful,  was  not 
marked  by  any  brilliant  success.  He  was  the  author 
of  several  books,  of  which  his  "  Notes  and  Inci- 
dents of  Home  Missionary  Life  "  will  probably  be  best 

Of  the  next  three  ministers  we  find  little  recorded. 
Rev.  J.  E.  Rosoman  was  recognised  on  October  29, 
1872,  and  left  in  1879.       Rev.  W.  B.  Macwilliam  came 

E  E 


from  George  Lane,  Woodford,  in  1880,  and  removed  to 
Chelsea  in  1883.  Rev.  L.  J.  Maclaine  followed  in  the 
same  year,  and  continued  to  1886. 

Rev.  W.  J.  Loxton,  from  Brigg,  son  of  a  Congre- 
gational minister  in  Norfolk,  was  the  next  pastor. 
"  Here  he  lived  a  busy,  active,  consecrated  life.  The 
church  was  renovated  (and  greatly  improved)  at  a  cost 
of  £400.  Societies  were  organised  and  directed  by 
him,"  and  the  interest  "  was  not  only  maintained,  but 
grew  under  his  fostering  care."  His  quiet  and  gentle 
character  made  a  widespread  and  lasting  impression. 
He  died  after  much  acute  suffering  on  January  18, 

A  preaching  station  was  established  in  1895  at  Great 
Bookham,  about  two  miles  south-west  of  Leather- 
head,  and  two  years  later  the  Surrey  Mission  appointed 
Mr.  John  Ansell  to  the  charge.  The  mission  room  will 
accommodate  about  200  hearers. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  R.  H.  Noble,  who  had 
held  charges  at  Widnes  and  Southgate  Road,  London, 
and  from  1892  to  1899  had  been  secretary  to  the  Irish 
Evangelical  Society.  He  remained  at  Leatherhead 
from  1899  to  1902,  when  he  removed  to  take  charge  of 
the  church  at  Hyde,  near  Hendon.  He  died  January, 

The  present  minister  is  Rev.  Wm.  Brown  Tucker, 
from  Hackney  College,  who  entered  on  the  charge  in 



(1820  and  1825) 

Midway  between  Dorking  and  Guildford,  in  one  of 
the  most  picturesque  spots  of  Surrey,  lies  the  little 
village  of  Gomshall,  or  Gumshall  as  the  name  used  to 
appear.  Mr.  Widgery,  a  Hackney  student,  was 
appointed  an  agent  of  the  Surrey  Mission  in  1820,  and 
the  following  June,  having  been  previously  ordained  at 
Kingston,  he  took  up  his  residence  here. 

In  October  a  chapel,  seating  some  200  persons,  was 
opened,  and  nearly  the  whole  cost,  £300,  was  borne  by 
three  gentlemen  connected  with  other  denominations. 

According  to  one  of  the  early  reports  of  the  Surrey 
Mission  the  building  was  frequently  so  crowded  that  it 
was  difficult  for  the  preacher  to  reach  the  pulpit. 

Two  months  later  Mr.  Widgery  opened  a  Sunday 
school.  The  first  Sabbath  twenty-three  children  were 
admitted,  of  whom  not  one  could  read  in  the  New 
Testament.  The  people  generally  were  very  ignorant, 
less  than  half  of  the  cottagers  could  read  the  Bible. 

The  work  progressed  in  an  encouraging  manner,  and 
on  October  25,  1825,  a  second  chapel  was  opened  at 

The  lord  of  the  manor  was  so  struck  by  the  beneficial 
effects  of  village  preaching  that  he  gave  as  much  ground 
as  was  required,  at  a  quit  rent  of  is.  a  year.  The  chapel 
was  built  under  the  direction  of  a  sub-committee  at 
Kingston,  and  friends  there  generously  bore  the  expense 
of  the  work.  The  same  year  a  church  was  formed  of 
eleven  members. 

Mr.    Widgery   laboured   in   this   district    for   nearly 

E  £  2 


twenty  years.  On  March  25,  1841,  he  removed  to 
Dorking  to  carry  on  home  mission  work  in  connection 
with  the  church  in  that  town,  but  died  the  following 

Rev.  J.  Hedgcock,  of  Hayes,  near  Uxbridge,  then 
took  up  the  work  at  the  invitation  of  the  committee. 
He  laboured  until  November,  1846,  and  was  followed 
by  Mr.  Turner,  of  Cranbrook. 

In  December,  1848,  Mr.  Tarner  opened  a  British 
school  at  Felday.  He  wrote  to  the  British  School 
Society  for  a  grant  of  books,  but  was  informed  that 
grants  could  only  be  made  through  school  committees. 
So  he  solicited  the  co-operation  of  friends  at  Dorking, 
formed  a  committee,  obtained  a  grant  and  soon  had  a 
school  of  thirty  children  in  good  working  order.  Within 
a  few  weeks  this  number  was  nearly  doubled.  Then 
he  applied  to  the  lord  of  the  manor  for  a  grant  of  land 
adjoining  the  chapel,  which  might  ultimately  be  used 
for  extension,  but  which  he  now  required  for  a  play- 
ground. A  very  considerable  piece  was  given,  the 
donor  expressing  his  pleasure  that  the  school  had 
been  established. 

Mr.  Turner  remained  until  1853,  when  he  was 
invited  to  the  pastorate  of  the  church  at  Ashford, 

Mr.  Lewis,  an  agent  of  the  London  City  Mission, 
was  then  sent  to  Gomshall,  and  continued  to  labour 
fruitfully  till  midsummer,  1862.  His  work  was  rendered 
difficult  by  the  popularity  of  "  Irvingism  "  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, and  by  the  activity  of  Mormon  emissaries, 
who  made  a  few  proselytes. 

The  following  September  Rev.  Edward  E.  Cooper 
was  appointed  to  the  station.  In  1869  the  chapel  had 
become  dilapidated  and  wretched.     Mr.  Cooper  made 


an  appeal  to  the  people  which  was  liberally  responded 
to.  The  rector  of  the  parish  expressed  his  sympathy 
and  subscribed,  and  all  the  resident  gentry  followed  his 
example.  With  assistance  from  friends  at  Dorking  and 
elsewhere  £110  was  raised,  and  the  chapel  renovated 
and  enlarged.  After  labouring  with  success  as  an 
evangelist  for  nine  years,  Mr.  Cooper  was  ordained  as 
pastor  on  Good  Friday  of  1878.  He  died,  after  a  short 
illness,  on  January  4,  1883,  in  the  fortieth  year  of  his 

The  pulpit  having  remained  vacant  for  nearly  two 
years,  Mr.  E.  J.  Hammond  was  ordained  as  pastor- 
evangelist  in  1884. 

So  greatly  did  the  cause  prosper  that  within  three 
years  a  larger  building  became  absolutely  necessary. 
An  effort  was  made  to  obtain  a  fresh  site  and  build  a 
new  church,  but  such  exorbitant  prices  were  asked  that 
this  was  impossible.  So  the  old  building  was  enlarged 
at  a  cost  of  £524.  At  the  opening  services,  October  26, 
1887,  £30  were  still  required  to  meet  the  total  cost. 
This  amount  was  subscribed  during  the  evening,  and 
the  building  opened  free  of  debt.  Mr.  Hammond 
resigned  in  1892,  and  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  Eli  Dean, 
from  Ormskirk,  who  continued  the  oversight  of  the 
work  here  till  1902. 

In  July  of  that  year,  Rev.  J.  Stothard  Mercer  accepted 
the  invitation  of  the  church.  Mr.  Mercer  was  educated 
for  the  ministry  at  Hackney  College,  and  laboured  at 
North  Walsham  from  1893  until  he  came  to  Gomshall. 




On  a  Sunday  afternoon  in  18S8,  Mr.  Abel  Overington, 
of  Gomshall,  set  out  with  his  two  boys  to  see  if  he 
could  do  any  good  amongst  the  people  at  Farley  Green, 
a  hamlet  about  three  miles  to  the  south-west.  On 
arriving  there  he  found  almost  the  whole  village  on  the 
green,  the  men  and  boys  playing  cricket,  the  women 
and  girls  looking  on. 

He  at  once  invited  the  people  to  an  open-air  service, 
at  a  corner  of  the  green.  Several  responded ;  the  elder 
lad  had  his  flute,  and  several  hymns  from  Sankey's  book 
were  sung.  One  old  woman,  who  still  lives,  brought 
out  chairs  and  heartily  welcomed  them,  and  several  of 
the  people  expressed  a  wish  for  other  visits. 

The  following  Sunday  Mr.  Overington  returned  to 
the  work,  and  for  three  summers  the  meetings  were 
carried  on  with  such  help  as  could  be  obtained  from 
personal  friends.  At  the  close  of  the  third  summer 
the  people  begged  that  the  services  might  be  continued 
through  the  winter  months  :  a  good  woman  offered 
the  use  of  her  cottage,  and  regular  work  was  com- 

In  1891  an  unsuccessful  attempt  was  made  to  get  a 
room  or  site  from  the  Duke  of  Northumberland,  who 
owns  most  of  Farley  Green. 

In  1S92  sickness  prevented  the  continuing  of  services 
in  the  same  cottage  ;  but  a  neighbour  provided  another 
room,  and  there  the  meetings  have  been  carried  on  ever 


In  December,  1893,  Mr.  Daborn  joined  the  church 
at  Gomshall,  and  became  interested  in  the  Farley 
Green  work.  By  his  advice  it  was  taken  over  by  the 
Church.  Since  then  one  or  the  other  of  the  preachers 
has  exercised  a  kind  of  oversight,  the  others  loyally 
supporting  him.  The  work  has  prospered,  and  excel- 
lent congregations  are  reported. 


(1824 — 1894) 

Broadmoor  is  a  hamlet  on  the  foot  of  Leith  Hill, 
four  and  a  half  miles  from  Gomshall  in  a  south-easterly 
direction.  Work  was  carried  on  here  by  the  Surrey 
Mission  as  early  as  1824,  but  the  present  effort  dates 
from  1894. 

Most  of  the  cottages  were  built  in  that  year  by  a 
Mr.  Brooks  for  the  workpeople  on  his  estate,  and  were  so 
arranged  that  in  the  centre  of  the  road  there  is  a  large 
room  intended  for  the  use  of  the  tenants  as  a  reading 
room,  etc. 

Mr.  Brooks  gave  the  tenants  liberty  to  use  the  room 
for  any  object  that  they  deemed  helpful  to  themselves  ; 
and  a  commitee  was  formed  among  them  for  its  manage- 
ment. This  committee  declined  an  application  for  the 
use  of  the  room  on  Sundays  by  some  Plymouth  Brethren 
in  the  neighbourhood ;  and  instead  sent  a  letter  to  Rev. 
Eli  Dean,  minister  of  Gomshall  and  Felday  Congre- 
gational church,  asking  if  he  and  his  church  members 
would  undertake  to  conduct  services  in  the  room  on 
Sunday  evenings.  On  October  10, 1894,  Mr.  Dean  and 
his  church  accepted  the  responsibility,  and  from  that 


time  till  now  the  services  have  been  maintained  without 
a  break,  and  blessing  has  followed.  Sometimes  the  room 
is  crowded  with  forty  to  fifty  interested  worshippers. 

For  above  two  years  one  Sunday  evening  a  month 
has  been  supplied  by  preachers  from  West  Street,  Dork- 
ing. The  room  at  Broadmoor  is  used  during  the  earlier 
hours  of  the  day  for  a  Sunday  school,  in  which  Episco- 
palians and  Congregationalists  join  hands. 



A  chapel  was  opened  in  this  village  by  the  Surrey 
Mission  in  July,  1821.  The  ground  was  given  by 
Mr.  John  Bailey,  late  of  Sutton  ;  and  the  expense  of 
the  building  was  defrayed  by  friends  in  London, 
Dorking,  Guildford,  and  Kingston,  the  people  them- 
selves raising  £50.  The  work  was  placed  under  the 
care  of  Mr.  Widgery,  who  soon  gathered  a  congregation 
of  100  to  150  persons,  and  a  Sunday  school  of  twenty- 
five  children. 

One  of  the  Surrey  Mission  Reports  says,  "Preaching 
has  been  continued  here  ever  since,  with  as  much  regu- 
larity as  the  Society's  funds  would  allow.  Sometimes 
it  had  its  own  resident  minister,  at  other  times  it  has 
been  supplied  by  the  evangelists  of  neighbouring 

In  September,  1867,  Mr.  Fifield  was  placed  in  charge 
of  the  church.  He  laboured  till  March,  1870,  when  he 
removed  to  Pirbright  to  take  up  the  work  there.  For 
some  time  the  station  was  without  an  evangelist, 
Mr.  Cooper,  of  Gomshall  supplying  the  pulpit  as 
frequently  as  possible. 


In  1878  Mr.  J.  Garner  was  appointed  evangelist  to 
this  station  and  Forest  Green,  Mr.  Cooper  still  con- 
tinuing the  oversight.  Steady  progress  seems  to  have 
been  made  during  this  time.  Mr.  Garner  left  in  July, 
1897,  and  was  followed  by  Mr.  L.  Baker.  During  his 
ministry  £joo  was  spent  in  renovating  the  chapel,  and 
an  energetic  religious  and  social  work  was  carried  on. 

In  1900  Mr.  G.  Woodward,  who  had  already  done 
good  service  at  Park  Gate,  was  appointed  to  this  dis- 
trict, and  has  since  maintained  an  earnest  and  faithful 
ministry.  A  new  church  is  in  prospect,  and  is  greatly 
needed.  Mr.  Walter  Webb  has  generously  given  a 
better  site  in  a  prominent  position  in  exchange  for  the 
old  one,  and  already  a  respectable  sum  has  been  raised 
towards  the  building  fund. 



This  station  has  always  been  worked  in  conjunction 
with  Ewhurst,  from  which  it  is  about  two  miles 

Previous  to  the  erection  of  the  chapel  services  were 
conducted  during  the  summer  in  the  open  air,  the 
wagon  of  a  sympathetic  farmer  serving  as  a  pulpit.  In 
the  winter  months  the  little  congregation  found  shelter 
in  a  neighbouring  cottage,  which  has  since  been  pulled 

In  1878  W.  J.  Evelyn,  Esq.,  the  lord  of  the  manor, 
gave  a  copyhold  site  on  a  quit  rent  of  a  shilling  a  year, 
for  the  erection  of  a  chapel ;  and  on  June  19  his  little 
son,  Master  John  Evelyn,  so  young  that  he  was  led  by 


his  nurse,  laid  the  memorial  stone.  Mr.  Evelyn  also 
contributed  largely  towards  the  erection  of  the  chapel, 
the  total  cost  of  which  was  £606.  The  building  was 
opened  in  October,  1878.  A  debt  of  £114  remained  to 
be  defrayed,  and  Mr.  W.  Marten  Smith  and  Mr.  Samuel 
Figgis,  who  had  already  contributed  £100,  generously 
offered  to  make  up  the  amount  if  the  Chapel  Building 
Society  added  £25  to  its  original  gift.  This  was  done 
and  the  building  freed  from  debt. 

Mr.  Woodward,  the  evangelist  in  charge  divides  his 
labours  between  this  station  and  Ewhurst.  The  pros- 
pect at  both  places  continues  in  every  way  encouraging 
and  every  branch  of  the  church  work  is  in  a  healthy 




These  villages  are  located  about  three  and  six  miles 
respectively  to  the  north-west  of  Guildford  ;  and  were 
among  the  first  in  which  work  was  undertaken  by  the 
Surrey  Mission.  The  first  agent  appointed  to  the  dis- 
trict, which  included  several  other  villages,  was  Mr. 
Exall,  who  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  Gayton. 

The  chapel  at  Perry  Hill  was  built  in  1822,  and 
opened  on  June  5  in  that  year.  Revs.  Messrs.  Leif- 
child,  Forsaith,  and  Ivimey  were  the  preachers.  The 
building  cost  £380,  of  which  £50  was  contributed  by 
friends  at  Guildford.     For  some  time  the  pulpit  was 

PERRY    HILL   AND    PIRBRIGHT        427 

supplied  by  students  from  Hackney  College;  but  Mr. 
Gayton  having  resigned  the  post  of  rural  evangelist  it 
was  thought  advisable  to  appoint  a  resident  minister. 
In  1824  Mr.  Benjamin  Haymes,  a  Hackney  student,  was 
invited  to  the  charge,  Flexford  and  Normandy  being 
also  included  in  his  sphere  of  labour.  The  work  was 
very  difficult ;  almost  every  report  bears  witness  to  the 
benighted  condition  of  the  neighbourhood.  Mr.  Haymes 
was  ordained  as  pastor  at  Epsom  in  1829  ;  a  proceeding 
more  akin  to  the  practice  of  the  old  Presbyterians  than 
to  that  of  modern  Congregationalists.  Some  of  Mr. 
Haymes's  letters  are  interesting  reading,  and  give  an 
excellent  idea  of  the  labour  of  the  county  evangelist  in 
those  days.  "  One  Sabbath  day  (he  writes  in  1843)  I 
thought  I  must  have  given  up  the  service  owing  to  the 
drifted  snow,  but  I  went  through  it  and  found  some 
waiting  to  hear  the  word  of  life.  The  nights  have  been 
so  dark  and  chilling  that  I  think  nothing  short  of  the 
love  of  Christ  could  have  induced  the  poor  creatures  to 
leave  their  homes  to  attend  our  prayer  meetings." 

On  Tuesday,  October  16,  1849,  Mr.  Haymes  attended 
the  annual  meeting  of  the  Surrey  Mission  at  Croydon, 
and  thence  proceeded  to  London  on  business.  Returning 
home  on  Friday  he  was  seized  with  cholera,  and  after  a 
few  hours  of  great  suffering  died  in  the  fifty- seventh  year 
of  his  age.  A  tablet  to  his  memory  is  erected  in  the 

Rev.  Mr.  Young,  of  Marden,  supplied  for  a  few 
months,  and  was  highly  appreciated,  but  the  state  of 
his  health  prevented  him  from  accepting  the  permanent 
charge  of  the  station.  The  committee  then  invited 
Mr.  Hardiman,  another  Hackney  student.  He  entered 
on  the  work  in  1850,  and  laboured  faithfully  till  March 
25,  1859,  when  he  removed  to  Takeley  in  Essex. 


For  the  next  three  years  the  Surrey  Mission,  through 
lack  of  funds,  was  under  the  necessity  of  discontinuing 
its  support  of  the  station.  Meanwhile  services  were 
maintained  at  Perry  Hill  with  tolerable  regularity,  first 
by  local  brethren,  and  then  by  Mr.  Colebrook,  a  lay 
preacher  from  Guildford.  At  Pirbright  services  were 
carried  on  by  Mr.  Green,  of  Frimley,  who  fitted  up  an 
old  blacksmith's  shop  in  the  centre  of  the  village  as  a 
place  of  worship. 

In  1862  the  Society  again  took  charge  of  the  district, 
and  in  October  of  that  year  appointed  Mr.  Lynn  to  the 
oversight  of  the  work.  Singing  classes,  lectures,  and 
popular  readings  were  among  the  methods  whereby  he 
endeavoured  to  interest  and  instruct  the  villagers.  He 
had  such  a  measure  of  success  at  Pirbright  that  a  large 
room  in  a  cottage  was  used  for  the  services  ;  and  this, 
proving  too  small,  was  enlarged  by  a  friend  of  the 
mission,  Mr.  Benjamin  Smith,  at  a  cost  of  £40. 

Mr.  Lynn  removed  in  October,  1867,  and  was 
followed  in  February,  1868,  by  Mr.  Hawkins.  In 
August  of  the  same  year  Mr.  B.  Smith  built  a  neat  and 
substantial  chapel,  with  a  convenient  manse  adjoining, 
which  he  handed  over  to  the  society.  It  was  duly 
registered  as  an  Independent  place  of  worship. 

Early  in  1870  Mr.  Hawkins  resigned  to  enter 
Nottingham  College,  and  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  J. 
Fifield,  who  had  previously  been  evangelist  at  Ewhurst. 
About  this  time  we  meet  with  references  to  Revs.  J. 
Manning  and  W.  Heath  in  connection  with  Perry  Hill, 
but  can  learn  nothing  definite  about  them. 

In  June,  1871,  an  old  schoolroom,  near  the  village 
green  at  Pirbright,  which  had  long  been  used  as  a 
day  school,  was  closed.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Fifield  undertook 
to  reopen  the  school;  whereupon  Mr.  B.  Smith — always 

PERRY   HILL  AND    P1RBRIGHT        429 

regardful  of  the  moral  and  spiritual  welfare  of  the 
village — enlarged  and  adapted  another  building  along- 
side the  chapel  for  the  purpose.  This  was  opened  in 
December  with  sixty  scholars :  and  out  of  it  grew  a 
flourishing  Sunday  school.  Mr.  Fifield  remained  at 
Pirbright,  doing  excellent  service,  until  his  death  in 

Before  this,  however,  the  two  villages  appear  to  have 
been  dissociated.  In  1890  Mr.  W.  Farris  was  appointed 
to  the  oversight  of  Perry  Hill,  and  has  continued  in 
earnest  service  until  the  present  time.  There  are  fifty- 
five  church  members,  and  a  Sunday  school  of  about 
fifty  children. 

At  Pirbright,  after  the  death  of  Mr.  Fifield,  Mr.  G.  D. 
Shipley  served  for  some  years  as  evangelist,  and  was 
followed  by  Mr.  E.  Lawes  for  about  ten  months.  The 
interest  was  by  this  time  at  a  very  low  ebb.  In  1898 
the  oversight  was  offered  to,  and  accepted  by,  Mr. 
Richard  Fifield,  a  son  of  the  former  evangelist  of  the 
same  name.  He  is  a  colporteur  employed  by  the 
Metropolitan  Tabernacle  Colportage  Association,  and 
has  worked  until  now  with  much  assiduity  and  success. 
The  church  members  number  about  thirty  ;  there  is  a 
Sunday  school  of  120,  and  a  Band  of  Hope  with  eighty 
names  on  the  register.  Of  late  years  the  name 
"  Providence  Mission  Chapel  "  has  been  in  use ;  there 
is  a  strong  Baptist  element  in  the  fellowship,  which  is 
described  as  a  "  Congregational  Baptist  Union  Mission 
Church  "  ;  and  in  1906  it  was  affiliated  to  the  Home 
Counties  Baptist  Association.  It  is  the  only  Non- 
conformist place  of  worship  in  the  village,  which  has  a 
population  of  about  1,600. 




The  first  attempt  to  hold  Nonconformist  services  at 
Redhill  appears  to  have  been  made  by  Rev.  T.  Rees,  of 
Reigate,  during  his  pastorate  there.  At  that  time  Rev. 
C.  T.  Smith,  who  had  long  laboured  amongst  the  villages 
of  Surrey  and  Sussex,  was  living  retired  in  Reigate. 
Mr.  Smith  generously  took  a  house  in  Redhill  at  his  own 
expense,  and  converted  the  lower  part  of  it  into  a 
chapel,  capable  of  holding  some  sixty  or  seventy  persons. 
Here  services  were  conducted  for  some  time.  But  the 
origin  of  the  present  church  is  due  to  Rev.  E.  Prout, 
who,  impressed  with  the  necessity  of  additional  means 
of  worship,  approached  Mr.  John  Finch,  of  Tunbridge 
Wells,  upon  the  matter.  They  agreed  as  to  the  need 
of  a  chapel,  but  no  opportunity  offered  itself  until  the 
end  of  1859,  when  Mr.  Finch  was  able  to  secure  a  site 
in  a  good  position. 

On  January  24,  1861,  Mr.  Prout  convened  a  few 
friends  at  the  house  of  Mr.  William  Ruskin  Richardson. 
They  resolved  that  a  Congregational  Chapel  should  be 
erected  as  soon  as  possible,  and  constituted  themselves 
into  a  committee  to  carry  the  resolution  into  effect ; 
and  plans  for  a  building  were  at  once  invited. 

Arrangements  were  next  made  for  a  public  meeting 
of  sympathisers  in  the  Corn  Exchange, where  the  action 
of  the  committee  was  approved,  and  they  were  asked  to 
undertake  the  arrangements  for  services. 

On  Sunday,  March  12,  1861,  services  were  com- 
menced in  the  large  room  of  the  Corn  Exchange.  The 
Rev.  James  Hill,  of  Clapham,  preached.     The  pulpit 


was  then  supplied  by  ministers  chiefly  from  London. 
Meanwhile,  the  design  for  a  new  chapel  to  seat  500 
was  adopted,  the  new  building  commenced,  and  trustees 

It  was  now  felt  that  the  time  had  come  to  form  the 
spiritual  church.  A  meeting  was  held  for  that  purpose 
at  Mr.  Richardson's  house,  on  Friday  evening,  January 
31,  1862;  Rev.  E.  S.  Prout  presided,  and  twelve 
brethren  and  sisters,  dismissed  from  various  churches 
for  this  purpose,  constituted  themselves  a  fellowship 
according  to  the  Congregational  order.  The  following 
Sunday  the  Lord's  Supper  was  administered,  and  two 
or  three  more  members  received.  The  next  step  was 
to  find  a  pastor.  Rev.  W.  P.  Dothie,  M.A.,  of  Halstead, 
had  ministered  to  the  church  for  several  Sundays :  on 
May  11,  1862,  he  was  invited  to  take  the  first  charge  of 
the  church,  and  commenced  his  ministry  on  June  22. 

Meanwhile,  the  new  building  was  rapidly  approach- 
ing completion,  and  on  Thursday,  September  4,  it 
was  opened.  Sermons  were  preached  by  Revs.  Dr. 
Stoughton  and  Samuel  Martin.  The  cost,  including 
the  freehold  site,  was  £2,500,  and  this  sum  was  raised 
by  the  end  of  the  year. 

For  fourteen  years  Mr.  Dothie  exercised  a  faithful 
and  instructive  ministry,  gradually  building  up  a 
vigorous  church.  In  October,  1875,  he  resigned  the 
pastorate,  but  at  the  wish  of  the  people  continued  his 
ministry  till  the  end  of  March,  1876. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Rev.  Herbert  Stent,  who  entered 
on  the  charge  on  July  30,  1876.  The  close  of  Mr. 
Stent's  ministry  was  somewhat  troubled.  A  section 
of  the  church  became  dissatisfied,  and  eventually,  in 
1882,  he  resigned  his  office.  He  has  since  entered  the 
Established  Church. 


The  next  minister  was  Rev.  James  Menzies,  from 
Berkhampstead,  who  commenced  his  ministry  in  Sep- 
tember, 1883.  During  his  pastorate  the  church  had  a 
quiet  and  uneventful  history,  but  excellent  work  was 
done,  and  it  was  with  great  regret  that  his  resignation 
was  received  in  1891. 

Early  in  1892  the  chapel  was  renovated,  the  organ 
improved,  and  a  rostrum  substituted  for  the  pulpit. 

The  choice  of  the  church  next  fell  upon  Rev.  John 
Gardner,  a  student  of  Hackney  College,  who  was 
ordained  on  Wednesday,  January  25,  1893. 

In  1898  a  stained  glass  window  was  placed  in  the 
church  in  memory  of  Mr.  William  Ruskin  Richardson, 
who  had  much  to  do  with  the  erection  of  the  present 
building.  Two  years  later  the  organ  was  reconstructed 
at  a  cost  of  £350. 

For  twelve  years  Mr.  Gardner  worthily  sustained  the 
pastorate.  An  examination  of  the  church  records  shows 
no  startling  events,  but  steady  progress.  Early  in 
1905  Mr.  Gardner  accepted  an  invitation  to  Bradford, 
Yorks.,  and  after  a  few  months'  interval  his  place  was 
filled  by  Rev-  Andrew  Leggatt,  late  of  Great  Yarmouth. 




Bletchingley  is  a  quiet  old-fashioned  village  scattered 
pleasantly  along  the  road  which  leads  from  Redhill  to 
Godstone.  Quiet  as  it  is  to-day,  it  was  once  a  place  of 
considerable    importance.      Tradition    says   that    Earl 


Godwin  ruled  here  in  great  state ;  and  certainly  it 
could  boast  of  two  representatives  to  Parliament  until 
the  Reform  Act  of  1832  swept  them  away. 

In  Sheldon's  report  of  conventicles,  1699,  we  read, 
"  There  hath  been  no  meetings  in  Bletchingley  since 
Edmond  Blundell  went  away  from  thence."  But  under 
the  Indulgence  of  1672  a  licence  was  granted  to  John 
Butterey's  house,  and  to  "  James  Parkins,  teacher,  in 
any  allowed  place." 

Like  many  another  village,  Bletchingley  received  the 
gospel  through  the  agency  of  the  Surrey  Mission.  In 
1821  it  was  included  in  the  Oxted  district,  and  received 
the  ministrations  of  that  faithful  servant  of  God,  Mr. 

The  early  work  was  evidently  not  very  encouraging, 
for  we  read  in  the  report  for  1823  that  for  many  years 
the  minister  seemed  like  one  who  was  ploughing  upon 
a  rock.  Things,  however,  began  to  improve  about  that 
time,  for  soon  after  Mr.  Dubourg  says,  "  The  place  is 
filled  and  often  crowded,  where  my  faith  and  patience 
have  been  long  exercised." 

After  Mr.  Smith's  retirement  from  Charlwood  in 
1834,  he  ministered  at  Bletchingley,  where  we  are  told 
he  had  a  numerous  congregation. 

In  July,  1868,  Mr.  Charles  Pook  was  placed  at 
Bletchingley  as  an  evangelist,  the  work  being  carried  on 
under  the  oversight  of  Rev.  W.  P.  Dothie  and  the 
church  at  Redhill.  Considerable  success  appears  to 
have  attended  Mr.  Pook's  efforts  ;  the  chapel  sometimes 
being  filled  to  its  utmost  capacity,  whilst  some  who 
could  not  get  in  stood  and  listened  at  the  windows. 

In  1874  Mr.  Pook  retired,  and  the  work  was  taken 
up  by  Mr.  Veals.  During  his  ministry  considerable 
improvements  were  made  to  the  chapel.     A  new  floor 

f  F 


was  laid  on  a  lower  level,  new  windows  were  added, 
and  the  building  entirely  renovated.  This  cost  £100, 
toward  which  the  people  of  the  neighbourhood  hand- 
somely contributed,  though  the  great  bulk  of  the 
expense  was  met  by  the  church  at  Redhill. 

In  1880  Mr.  Veals  resigned  amid  the  universal  esteem 
of  the  neighbourhood.  Mr.  Braby,  of  the  Sussex  Home 
Missionary  Society,  was  then  appointed.  He  was 
followed  by  Mr.  Andrews,  who  found  the  difficulties  of 
the  position  too  great,  and  after  a  short  ministry 

On  Mr.  Andrews's  retirement  the  station  was  for 
twelve  months  without  an  evangelist.  In  1887  Mr. 
James  Richards  took  up  the  work,  and  renewed  signs 
of  life  and  interest  were  soon  evident. 

Mr.  Epps  was  the  next  evangelist.  He  seems  to 
have  done  good  work,  but  did  not  stay  long. 

Mr.  Freemantle  succeeded.  During  his  stay,  in  1894, 
the  chapel  and  two  cottages  adjoining  were  purchased  at 
a  cost  of  £250.  Subsequent  additions  and  alterations 
brought  up  the  total  expense  to  £478. 

In  1896  Rev.  G.  S.  Martin,  from  Lowestoft,  came  to 
Bletchingley  as  mission  pastor,  and  remained  till  1902, 
when  Mr.  H.  J.  Barker  succeeded  him.  The  present 
evangelist  is  Rev.  J.  J.  Barber,  from  Ardingley,  who 
commenced  his  work  in  1905. 


In    1874   Mr.  Veals,  the  evangelist  at  Bletchingley, 
conducted  some  open  air  services  at  Warwick  Wold. 


These  were  well  attended,  excited  much  interest,  and 
led  to  opening  a  cottage  for  regular  worship,  the  hearers 
there  making  themselves  responsible  for  the  rent.  A 
flourishing  Sunday  school  of  fifty  scholars  soon  followed, 
and  a  well-attended  cottage  meeting  was  held  during 
the  week. 

On  Mr.  Veals's  retirement  the  work  was  continued  by 
Mr.  Braby,  and  has  been  maintained  by  the  evangelists 
at  Bletchingley,  under  the  oversight  of  the  Redhill 
church,  until  the  present  time. 

An  iron  room  has  been  kindly  lent  by  P.  L.  Pelly,  Esq., 
for  the  services,  and  here  they  have  been  conducted 
ever  since. 

The  record  is  one  of  quiet  uneventful  work  with 
varying,  but  on  the  whole  encouraging,  success. 



On  the  summit  of  Hindhead,  just  where  the  Ports- 
mouth road  begins  its  descent  into  the  valley,  stand  the 
beautiful  little  church-hall,  school,  and  manse  which 
the  liberality  of  Mr.  John  Grover  has  built  for  the 
religious  and  educational  needs  of  the  neighbourhood. 

The  hall  was  built  first,  and  was  opened  for 
worship  on  Sunday  evening,  August  9,  1896.  Among 
the  worshippers  were  several  "Brethren"  who  had 
been  accustomed  for  some  years  to  meet  at  Gray- 
shott  under  the  leadership  of  Mr.  E.  H.  Chapman. 
A  public  meeting  on  the  following  Wednesday  was 
addressed  by  Revs.  Principal  Whitehouse,  of  Cheshunt 

F  F  2 


College,  and  Hugh  Morris,  of  Haslemere.  A  Sunday 
school  was  commenced  the  next  Sunday  with  fifteen 
scholars,  a  number  which  speedily  increased.  Services 
were  carried  on  by  ministers  and  laymen  who  freely 
gave  their  services.  At  the  request  of  Mr.  Grover,  Rev. 
G.  B.  Stallworthy,  of  Longfleet,  Poole,  and  formerly  of 
Haslemere,  took  the  general  superintendence ;  and 
Rev.  Alfred  Kluht,  M.R.A.S.,  late  of  Billericay, 
rendered  valuable  assistance. 

Mr.  Stallworthy,  whose  literary  abilities  are  of 
no  mean  order,  early  in  the  history  of  the  movement 
commenced  a  series  of  week-night  lectures  of  an  educa- 
tional character,  obtaining  the  assistance  of  many  well- 
known  men  and  women. 

In  1901  Mr.  Grover's  plans  were  completed  by  the 
erection  of  the  schoolroom  and  manse ;  electric  light,  a 
piano,  books  for  a  library,  and  other  appliances  of  the 
most  modern  type  were  presented  in  a  quiet  and  unos- 
tentatious manner ;  and  the  property  was  vested  in 
eight  trustees.  Subsequently  the  trust  was  accepted  by 
the  Surrey  Congregational  Union. 

A  Congregational  church  was  formed  on  December 
22,  1901,  the  roll  being  signed  by  about  thirty  persons. 
It  was  agreed  that  the  basis  of  fellowship  should  be, 
not  identity  of  doctrinal  opinion,  but  sympathy  with 
the  purposes  of  Christ's  mission  to  the  world.  Members 
were  to  be  quite  free  as  to  the  observance  or  non-observ- 
ance of  baptism  and  the  Lord's  Supper.  The  first 
communion  service  was  not  held  till  May  4,  1902. 

The  main  building  was  renamed  The  Free  Church ; 
but  is  still  commonly  spoken  of  as  Hindhead  Hall,  being 
freely  used  for  concerts,  lectures,  and  social  meetings. 
A  slate  club,  coal  and  clothing  clubs,  cricket,  football, 
cycle,  and  winter  evening  recreation  clubs  are  all  in 


being,  and  largely  appreciated.  An  organ  was  intro- 
duced in  1905.  Since  1900  Rev.  G.  B.  Stallworthy  has 
been  resident  minister. 


HAMMER   (1903)    and   BEACON   HILL  (1905) 

The  liberality  of  Mr.  Grover  has  not  stopped  at 
Hindhead ;  he  has  built  a  handsome  church,  with 
schoolroom  and  vestry,  at  Hammer.  The  opening 
services  were  held  on  Wednesday,  October  8,  1903, 
Rev.  J.  Morgan  Gibbon  being  the  preacher,  and 
numerous  ministers  from  far  and  near  participating. 
The  services  are  mostly  conducted  by  lay  brethren  under 
the  supervision  of  Rev.  G.  B.  Stallworthy.  There  is  a 
Sunday  school  of  about  eighty  children,  and  social  and 
educational  work  is  carried  on  in  the  winter  evenings. 
In  January,  1905,  Mr.  Grover  completed  a  third  set 
of  buildings  at  Beacon  Hill,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  on 
the  opposite  side  of  Hindhead.  These  comprise  church- 
hall,  schoolroom,  men's  club-room,  vestry,  and  kitchen. 
The  opening  sermon  was  preached  by  Rev.  B.  Snell,  of 
Brixton.  The  preachers  are  mostly  drawn  from  the 
neighbourhood,  with  the  occasional  help  of  New 
College  students.  A  Sunday  school  was  formed  by  a 
draft  of  fifty-six  children  from  the  centre  school  at 
Hindhead.  Classes,  social  meetings,  a  men's  club,  a 
Band  of  Hope,  etc.,  have  been  established.  The  school- 
room has  been  lent  to  the  County  Council  for  the 
purpose  of  an  infant  school,  pending  the  erection  of  a 
Council  school  building  on  an  adjacent  site.  This 
property,  as  well  as  that  at  Hammer,  has  been 
conveyed  by  Mr.  Grover  to  the  Surrey  Union. 



Ashtead . 

Byfleet    . 





Ditton,  Long 

Dorking  . 

Egham    . 



Fetcham . 


Horsley,  E. 

Horsley,  W. 




Mortlake . 

Moulsey  . 

Newington  Butts 

Ockley     . 


Southwark : — 
St.  George's 
St.  Olave's  . 

St.  Saviour 

St.  Thomas 

Mr.  King  (R.). 
Mr.  Scudamore  (R.). 
Mr.  Wright  (S.R.,  1660). 
Caleb  Trenchfield  (S.R.,  1660). 
John  Arthur,  D.D.  (R.). 
Richard  Roberts  (R.). 
Richard  Byfield,  M.A.  (R.). 
Samuel  Nabbs  (R.). 
William  Rayner,  B.D.  (V.). 
Mr.  Batho  (R.). 

Samuel  Stileman  (V.). 
Jas.  Fisher  (S.R.). 

John  Manship  (R.). 

Sampson  Caryl  (R.). 

John  Plot  (R.). 

Richard  Mayo  (V.). 

John  Rawlinson  (R.). 

William  Angel,  M.A.  (R.). 

David  Clarkson,  B.D.  (C). 

John  Jackson. 

Thos.  Wadsworth  (R.). 

Mr.  Nowell  (R.). 

Mr.  Wickham  (Chap.). 

Henry  Jessey,  M.A.  (R.). 
William  Cooper,  M.A.  (S.R.). 
Ralph  Venning,  M.A.  (Lect.). 
Samuel  Smith,  M.A.  (Lect.). 
John  Crodacot  (Chap.). 
Stephen  Watkins  (Chap.). 
Thos.  Bereman  (Lect.). 
Mr.  Cobb  (V.). 
John  Biscoe,  B.A.  (?  Lect). 


Walton-on-Thames     David  Anderson  (V.). 
Worplesdon     .        .     George  Farroll. 

At  uncertain  places : — Mr.  Glyde,  Mr.  Beaumont,  Mr.  Smith, 
Mr.  Story. 


Southwark  Deanery : — 

St.  Olave's,  Mill   Lane,  200.     Teachers,  Stephen   Ford,2  Mr. 
Beereman,  Thos.  Carter,2  Anthony  Palmer.2 
,,  Morgan's  Lane.     Teacher,  Thos.  Lye.2 

„  Farthing  Alley,1  500  or  600.     Teacher,  Nathaniel 

„  Horsley  Downe,1  100  Fifth  Monarchy  Men. 

,,  ,,  ,,         200  or  300  Quakers. 

„  Shad  Thames,1  1,000  Anabaptists. 

St.  Saviour's,  Mountague  Close,  100  Presbyterians.     "  Several 
Nonconforming  Ministers." 
,,  St.  Mary  Overyes  Dock,  150  Independents  and 

Fifth  Monarchy  Men. 
„  House  of  one  Desmore,  100  Anabaptists. 

„  Fishmonger  Alley,  60  Presbyterians  and  Inde. 

pendents.     Teacher,  Wm.  Carslake2  (miscalled 
„  f  Globe   Alley,1  600   Presbyterians   and    Indepen- 

-|      dents.     Teacher,  Thos.  Wadsworth.2 
„  [Globe  Alley.1    Teacher,  John  Chester. 

Ewell  Deanery : — 

Ewell,  50   Presbyterians.     Teachers,  Mr.   Symes,  Mr.  Batho, 
Mr.  King.2 

Kingston-on-Thames,    100   "of  several  opinions."      Teacher, 
Rich.  Mayo.2 

Kingston-on-Thames,  40  Quakers. 

Home,  Anabaptists  (monthly).     Teacher,  Martin  Caffyn. 

Bletchingley,  "  no  meetings  since  Edmond  Blundell  the  Ana- 
baptist went  away." 

Esher,  40  or  50,  once  a  month.     Teacher,  John  Stevens,  of 

1  In  specially  erected  meeting  houses. 

2  Ejected  ministers. 


Stoke  Deanery : — 

Godalming,  700  or  800.     Teacher,  John  Piatt.1 

„  400  or  500  Quakers  (monthly). 

Guildford,  60  to  100  Anabaptists.    Teachers,  Mr.  Pace,  Mr. 

Rowell,  Mr.  Mayo. 
Weybridge,  above  100  Presbyterians.    Teacher,  John  James.1 
Newdigate,  100  Presbyterians  and  Quakers. 
Dorking,  300  Presbyterians.     Teacher,  John  Wood.1 

„         100  Independents.    Teachers,  Christopher  Feak,  etc. 
,,        50  Anabaptists.    Teacher,  John  Barnard. 
„        Quakers. 

1  Ejected  ministers. 



(O.  H.  =  Own  House.) 

Battersea,  Thomas  "Harrockes,"  M.A.,  Presb.,  O.  H.,  April  20. 

„         Thomas  Pace,  Presb.,  O.  H.  and  General,  April  22. 
Bletchingley,  James  Parkins,  Presb.,  General,  May  22. 

,,  House  of  John  Butterey,  Presb.,  May  22. 

Chertsey,  William  Burnett,  Presb.,  H.  of  William  Longhurst, 
May  9. 
Arthur  Squibb,  Bapt.,  O.  H.,  October  28. 
Clapham,  Thomas  Lye,  Presb.,  O.  H.    [This  licence  was  applied 
for  five  times.]     April  30. 
,,         Dr.  Henry  Wilkinson,  Presb.,  O.  H.  or  Schoolhouse, 

May  25. 
,,  William  Hughes,  Presb.,  O.  H.,  September  30. 

Cobham,  House  of  James  Towers,  Presb.,  May  29. 
Croydon,  Francis  Smith,  Bapt.,  "a  room  formerly  a  malthouse," 
April  20. 
,,         Edward  Baker,  Congl.,  H.  of  Nathaniel  Read,  July  25. 
,,        House  of  John  Worrell,  Presb.,  October  28. 
Dorking,  John  Wood,  O.  H.,  April  11. 

„        James  Fisher,  Congl.,  O.  H.,  May  1. 
Effingham,   Thos.    Strickland,   Bapt.,    H.   of   Wm.   Wilkinson, 

October  28. 
Elstead,  J.  Wheeler,  Bapt.,  H.  of  Edward  Billinghurst,  Novem- 
ber 18. 


Farnham,    James    Prince,    Presb.,    H.    of    Richard    Whithall, 
June  15. 
John  Faroll,  Presb.,  H.  of  Richard  Collier,  June  15. 
House  of  William  Bicknoll,  Presb.,  September  30, 
November  11. 
Frimley,  Richard  Bures,  Presb.,  O.  H.  and  General,  April  30, 
November  18. 
Noah   Webb,    Presb.,  O.    H.   and   General,   April   30, 
November  11. 
Gadbrook,  John  Bernard,  Bapt.,  H.  of  Richard  Humphrey,  May  9. 
Godalming,  House  of  George  Bridges,  Presb.,  May  29. 
Guildford,  John  Manship,  Presb.,  O.  H.,  May  25. 

House  of  Thomas  Bradford,  Presb.,  May  29. 
Kingston,  William  Simms,  Presb.,  General,  April  2. 
House  of  Mr.  Piccard,  Presb.,  April  2. 
Richard  Mayo,  Presb.,  H.  of  John  Pigot,  April  13. 
Lambeth  (Kennington),  Charles  Morton,  Presb.,  O.  H.,  April  11. 
Christopher  Fowler,  Presb.,  O.  H.  and 
General,  May  25. 
Mortlake,  David  Clarkson,  B.D.,  Presb.  and  Congl.,  H.  of  John 

Beamish,  April  30. 
Ockley,  Robert  Fisher,  O.  H.  in  Stone  Street. 

House  of  Richard  Margesson  in  Stone  Street,  Presb., 
May  1. 
Oxstead,  House  of  Thos.  Stone,  Presb.,  February  3,  1673. 
Pirbright,  Samuel  Wickham,  Presb.,  General,  April  30. 
Southwark,    William    Whitaker,    Presb.,    H.    in    Court    Yard, 
Bermondsey,  April  2. 
„  Andrew  Parsons,  Presb.,  O.  H.  in  Deadman's  Place 

and  General,  April  2. 
„  Nathaniel  Vincent,  Presb.,  O.  H.  in  Farthing  Alley, 

St.  Olave,  April  2. 
„  William  Carslake,  Presb.,  General,  April  n. 

„  Thomas  Kentish,  Presb.,  General,  April  n. 

„  James  Janeway,  Presb.,  O.  H.  in  Salisbury  Street, 

Rotherhithe,  April  11. 
„  John  Chester,  Presb.,  O.  H.  in  Maid  Lane,  April  13. 

„  House  of  Richard  Hill  in  Winchester  Street,  Congl., 

May  1. 
„  Jeremiah  Baines,  Horsley  Down,  Presb.,  General, 

May  2. 
Stephen   More,  Indept.,  H.  of   Barnabas  Bloxom, 
Winchester  Yard,  May  4. 


Southwark,     House  of  Humphrey  Aldersley,  St.  Olave's,  Presb., 
May  13. 
John    Luffe,    of    St.    Mary's   Parish,    Bermondsey, 
Presb.,  General,  May  16. 
„  House  of  George  Ewers,  Presb.,  May  22. 

„  John  Peachye,  Presb.,  General,  May  22. 

„  James  Jones,  Bapt.,  O.  H.,  September  30. 

House  of  James  Walker,  Congl.,  September  30. 
Walton-on-Thames,  House  of  John  Daberon,  Presb.,  May  16. 

The  double  date  in  some  cases  seems  to  indicate  a  second 
licence  issued  because  of  some  clerical  error  in  the  first.  One 
date  has  been  inadvertently  overlooked. 

IV.    MEETING    HOUSES    IN    SURREY    BETWEEN    1717 

AND    1729. 

From  Dr.  Evans's  List  in  Williams's  Library,  and  Penney's 
•■  First  Publishers  of  Truth." 
1.  Presbyterian  and  Independent. 
Southwark,  Deadman's  Place. 
„  Maid  Lane. 

,,  Gravel  Lane. 

„  St.  Thomas's. 

Horsley  Down,  Parish  Street. 

,,  „       St.  John's  Court  Yard. 

Rotherhithe,  Jamaica  Road. 
„  Dockhead. 

„  The  Point. 


Horley,  "beyond  Reigate." 

Stanstead,  alias  Ockley. 



2.  Baptist. 

Southwark,  near  St.  George's. 

,,  Flower  de  Luce  Court. 

„  Queen  Street,  Park. 

Horsley  Down,  Back  Street. 

,,  ,,       Fair  Street. 

,,  „      New  Meeting  House. 


Frimley,  near  Basingstoke. 

3.  Quakers. 

Capil  (probably  as  early  as  1657). 

Dorking  (before  1677). 
Guildford  (before  1681). 
Heartswood,  near  Reigate. 
Horsley  Down. 

Kitlands,  near  Ockley. 

Southwark,  The  Park. 
And  several  temporary  or  discontinued  in  private  houses  in 
Southwark,  Walworth,  Lambeth,  and  one  at  Mitcham. 




Of  Independent  or  Congregational  Churches  in  Surrey, 
now  in  the  custody  of  the  registrar-general  at 
Somerset  House. 

These  registers  were  deposited  in  accordance  with  the  pro- 
visions of  Acts  of  Parliament  in  1840  and  1857,  and  certified 
extracts  from  them  are  legal  evidence. 


Bermondsey,  Jamaica  Row 

„  Neckinger  Road 

Brixton,  Trinity  . 

,,        Holland  Chapel     . 

Brixton  Hill,  Union     . 

Camberwell,  Albany    . 
,,  Grove 

„  Mansion  House 

„  Marlborough  . 

Charlwood  . 



„         Park  Road 

Collier's  Rents     . 

Croydon,  George  Street 

Dorking  (Marriages,  1729 — 1800) 



,,       Little  Chapel 


Godalming  . 

Gomshall,  Felday,  and  Ewhurst 

Guildford,       Blackhorse      Lane 

(some  marriages) 

„  New  Chapel    . 

Haslemere  .... 

Horsley  Down,  Parish  Street 

Kennington  Chapel     . 

,,  Vauxhall  Chapel 

„  Esher  Street     . 

Dates  Covered. 

Births  and 












1824 — 








l8ll— 1853 
1834— 1837 

1823— 1835 
1783— 1837 

1767 — 1836 
1730— 1855 

1827 — 1836 
1786— 1828 

1707— 1733 

1817— 1837 


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Kingston,  Old  Chapel 

,,  Heather  Street 

Norwood,  Lower 
Oxted  and  Limpsfield 
Peckham,  Hanover 

,,       two  detached  entries 
Richmond    . 
Southwark,  Deadman's  Place  and 
Union  Street 
(Some  entries  also 
in       Mill        Hill, 
,,  Globe  Alley 

,,  Guildford  Street 

,,  London  Road 

Stockwell     . 
Surrey  Chapel     . 
Thames  Ditton    . 
Walworth,  Beresford  Street 

,,  York  Street 


Worplesdon,     Perry     Hill     and 
Normandy     . 

Dates  Covered. 

Births  and 

1698 — 1803 
1776— 1856 
1832— 1835 
1719— 1752 
1821 — 1837 
1812— 1836 
l8oi — 1837 
1827— 1834 

1817  and  1819 
1835— 1837 
1831— 1836 
1823— 1837 

1784 — 1830 
1756— 1798 
1804 — x837 
1791— 1825 
1802 — 1837 
1787— 1837 
1816— 1836 
1786— 1837 
1821 — 1837 
1804 — 1837 
1811— 1836 
1778— 1836 

1823— 1837 


1839— 1855 

1719— 1752 

1821 — 1837 

1738— 1837 

1818— 1837 

1786— 1834 

1791— 1837 
1815— 1836 


Addiscombe  (Croydon),  164 
Anerley,  114 

Balham, 331 
Battersea : — 

Bridge  Road,  314 

Milton  Hall,  328 
Beacon  Hill,  437 
Bermondsey : — 

Jamaica  Row,  28 

Neckinger  Road,  51 

Rouel  Road,  142 

Tower  Bridge,  53,  58 
Blackdown,  414 
Blackheath,  398 
Bletchingley,  432 
Bookham,  418 
Borough  Road,  149 
Bourne,  375 
Bowlhead  Green,  410 
Brixton : — 

Acre  Lane,  256 

Congregational       Church, 

Holland  Chapel,  276 
Loughborough  Park,  305 
Trinity,  260 

Brixton  Hill,  263 

Broadmoor,  423 

Byfleet,  352 

Camberwell  : — 
Albany,  94 

Camberwell : — 

Green,  63,  65 

Grove,  in 

Mansion  House,  63 

New  Road,  in 

Waterloo  Street,  67,  112 
Cartbridge,  397 
Caterham,  152 

Upper,  155 
Charlwood,  363 
Chertsey,  201 
Clapham : — 

Grafton  Square,  173 

Lavender  Hill,  329 

Park  Crescent,  256 
Claylands,  276 
Cobham,  291 
Compton,  398 
Croydon : — 

Addiscombe,  164 

Back  Lane,  38 

George  Street,  37,  38,  41 

Park  Lane,  38 

Pump  Pail,  156 

Salem,  156 

South,  157 

Thornton  Heath,  130 

Trinity,  132 

West,  136 

Dorking,  353 
Dulwich : — 

Emmanuel,  166 



Dulwich : — 
Grove,  160 

West,  297 

Eashing,  408 
Egham  Hill,  294 
Elstead,  405 
Epsom,  42 
Ewell,  89 
Ewhurst,  424 

Farley  Green,  422 
Farnham,  368 
Felday,  419 
Forest  Green,  425 

Godalming,  400 
Gomshall,  419 
Guildford,  384 

Ham,  259 

Hammer,  437 

Haslemere,  410 

Hatcham,  25 

Hawkstone  Hall,  147 

Headley,  366 

Heme  Hill,  172 

Hersham,  286 

Hindhead,  435 

Horsley  Down : — 
Back  Street,  47 
Dock  Head,  48 
Parish  Street,  53 

Kennington  : — 

Carlisle  Chapel,  244 
Esher  Street,  274,  323 

Kingston,  181 

Kingswood, 383 

Lambeth  : — 

Baths,  148 

Caine  Hall,  340 

Christ  Church,  217,  233 

Wheatsheaf  Hall,  339 

York  Road,  283 
Leatherhead,  415 
Limpsfield,  83 

Malden,  New,  336 
Margery,  383 
Marlborough,  96 
Merrow,  399 
Merton,  118,  328 
Milford,  409 
Mitcham,  85 
Mortlake,  191 
Murphy  Memorial,  143 

Normandy,  393 
Norwood : — 

Selhurst  Road,  128 

South,  117 

Upper,  139 

West,  79 

Oatlands,  314 
Oxted,  82 

Pain's  Hill,  83 
Park  Gate,  364 
Peckham : — 

Clifton,  119 

Collyer's  Hall,  25 

Hanover,  17,  23 

Howbury  Road,  125 

Linden  Grove,  123 

Meeting  House   Lane,  18, 



Perry  Hill,  426 

Pirbright,  426 

Purley,  170 

Putney : — 

Oxford  Road,  237,  239 
Piatt  Chapel,  233,  237 
Union,  236,  238 

Redhill,  430 
Reigate,  377 
Richmond : — 

St.  Paul's,  347 

Vineyards,  268 
Rotherhithe,  Maynard's  Road. 

Ryde's  Hill,  396 

Selhurst  Road,  128 

Shamley  Green,  393 

Shortfield,  376 

South  Park,  382 

Southwark : — 

Borough  Road,  149 
Cole  Street,  61 
Collier's  Rents,  59,  62 
Deadman's  Place,  7,  8,  10 
Deverell  Street,  145 
Globe  Alley,  8,  9 
Gurney  Street,  62,  151 
Murphy  Memorial,  143 
Paragon,  79 
Pilgrim    Fathers,    Church 

of,  1,  13 
Southwark    Bridge    Road, 


Southwark  Park,  127 

Union  Street,  12 

Zoar  Street,  11 
Stockwell,  225 
Stoughton  Lane,  400 
Streatham,  344 

Streatham  Hill,  263 
Surbiton,  300 
Surrey  Chapel,  217 
Sutton,  73,  76 

„       Benhall  Street,  75,  77 

Tangley,  395 
Thames  Ditton,  241 
Thornton  Heath,  130 
Tooting,  208 

Walton-on-the-Hill,  367 
Walton-on-Thames,  286 
Walworth : — 

Beresford  Chapel,  135 
Browning  Hall,  67,  72 
Lock's  Fields,  67 
Penrose  Street,  106 
Sutherland,  104 
West  Street,  73 
York  Street,  67 
Wandsworth : — 

Old  Chapel,  247 
Earlsfield,  251,  341 
East  Hill,  245,  249 
Ettringham  Street,  251 
Garrett  Lane,  251 
High  Street,  250 
Thornsett  Road,  342 
Warwick  Wold,  434 
Weybridge,  310 
Wimbledon : — 

Christ  Church,  347 
Dundonald  Hall,  328 
Worple  Road,  324 
Woking,  349 

Wonersh  (see  Tangley),  395 
Wormley  Hill,  407 
Worplesdon  (see    Perry   Hill), 

Wrecclesham,  377 



7177  Cieal  - 
S9dT  Story  of  congre* 
gationalism  in 



AA  000  832  573  o